8151st Security Council Meeting: Non-Proliferation

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SIX OFFICIAL 22-Dec-2017 01:10:41
Security Council tightens sanctions on Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, unanimously adopting Resolution 2397 (2017) at 8151st meeting.
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Condemning, in the strongest terms, the launch of a ballistic missile by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on 28 November 2017, the Security Council today further tightened sanctions on the country, severely restricting fuel imports and other trade, as well as the ability of its citizens to work abroad.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2397 (2017), the Council limited the country’s imports of refined petroleum to 500,000 barrels for 12 months starting on 1 January 2018, with crude oil capped at the current levels for that period. It also called for the repatriation of all its nationals earning income abroad, with some humanitarian exceptions, to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea within 12 months.

In addition, the text targeted 16 new additional individuals, mainly banking officials, for the asset freeze and travel ban imposed in previous measures. The asset freeze was also imposed on the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces, which manages the general administrative and logistical needs of that country’s military.

The Council authorized Member States to seize, inspect, freeze and impound any vessel in their territorial waters found to be illicitly providing oil to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea through ship‑to‑ship transfers, or smuggling coal and other prohibited commodities from the country. It also banned the export of food products, machinery, electrical equipment, earth and stones, wood and vessels from the country, and exports of industrial equipment, machinery, transportation vehicles and industrial metals to it.

The Council called on all Member States to redouble efforts to implement in full all the measures of the new resolution as well as those of previous resolutions, including resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013) 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017) and 2375 (2017). It also urged that Member States cooperate with each other in doing so, particularly with respect to inspecting, detecting and seizing items designated by the resolutions.

Condemning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for neglecting to meet the severe needs of its people in its pursuit of weapons, the Council stressed that the measures imposed were not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences. It also reaffirmed support for resumption of the six‑party talks leading to the re‑entry of the country into the international non‑proliferation regime.

The Council, stating that it would keep the situation under review, affirmed that it was prepared to strengthen, modify, suspend or lift the measures in light of compliance by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Additional tests of nuclear weapons or long‑range ballistic missiles by the country would result in further restrictions on its import of petroleum.

Following the adoption of the resolution, Council members, along with the representative of the Republic of Korea, welcomed the unity that had been achieved by the 15‑member organ in responding firmly to the latest nuclear and missile activity by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The magnitude of the threat posed by that activity was stressed by most speakers. Many also made clear that the purpose of the measures were not to worsen the plight of the people of the country, but to bring about a political solution to the situation on the Korean Peninsula. In that light, speakers urged the measures be fully implemented by all Member States.

Nikki R. Haley (United States) thanked the Chinese delegation, as well as others, for working hard with her to develop the consensus text. The Council’s unity was a reflection of international outrage at the actions of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Enumerating the many times that the country had chosen international isolation by its actions, she said that the latest launch was an unprecedented violation which required an unprecedented response. For that reason, the measures had been tightened greatly as compared to previous texts. “Further defiance would result in further isolation,” she emphasized.

Matthew John Rycroft (United Kingdom) recalled recent meetings in which the violations of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had been highlighted, both on the non‑proliferation and human rights fronts. Yet, in the meeting on 15 December (see Press Release SC/13121), the country itself had pledged to continue its provocations. By resolution 2397 (2017), the international community had given a reply to those provocations, he said, stressing that no stone would be left unturned to bring about a diplomatic solution. He called on the country to engage meaningfully with the international community, while urging Member States to fully implement the sanctions.

Kairat Umarov (Kazakhstan) voiced his hope that, by the text, a very clear message was being sent to Pyongyang expressing disapproval of its actions. The country must understand the cause of the sanctions. For that reason, communications must be improved between it and the international community. The temporary nature of the sanctions must be stressed in order for the measures to have their desired result of bringing about talks.

Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta (Egypt) said that he had voted in favour of the resolution to maintain the credibility of the Treaty on the Non‑Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which must be binding without discrimination or distinction. Given the destabilizing effect of the recent tests, he called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to cease all further provocations and threats and, instead, rejoin the Non‑Proliferation Treaty as a non‑nuclear State. He also called for a comprehensive settlement on the Korean Peninsula through revived negotiations.

Fodé Seck (Senegal), lauding the unanimous adoption, said that the Council had been obliged to respond to the provocations of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which presented dangers to people living and traveling in the region. He reaffirmed that the measures must be part and parcel of an overall political strategy to engage all parties in dialogue. For that purpose, he called for resumption of the six‑party talks, along with continued unity on the part of the international community.

François Delattre (France) called the Council’s consensus on the text a significant step in bolstering action against the provocations of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It showed the seriousness of the threat posed to international peace and the non‑proliferation regime. A message of unity and determination was being sent, as gaps in the measures and their implementation were being closed. It was part of the political strategy that must advance to resolve the crisis. Maximum pressure was the best lever available to bring about dialogue.

Tekeda Alemu (Ethiopia) said that, as other options were unthinkable in addressing the crisis, the international community was obliged to increase pressure on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Council unity, indispensable on the issue, was again demonstrated in sending a strong message to the country. He called on all Member States to implement the measures in the hope of reviving talks.

Inigo Lambertini (Italy), affirming the grave threat posed by the actions of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, called on the regime to put an immediate end to its nuclear and missile programme. The new resolution was an appropriate response to the magnitude of the threat. Reiterating his concern for the humanitarian welfare of that country’s people, he called on all Member States to implement the measures in order to revive talks.

Luis Homero Bermúdez Álvarez (Uruguay) also stressed that the implementation of sanctions should aim at bringing about a political solution and should not have a negative effect on the well‑being of the population. There was no military solution to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula, he underscored, calling for the resumption of political dialogue before the crisis deepened even further.

Irina Schoulgin Nyoni (Sweden) said that the resolution reaffirmed that the world did not accept the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programmes. In addition to implementing the sanctions regime, further work was needed to reduce tensions, as sanctions alone would not resolve the situation. She stressed the importance that measures adopted not impede on ongoing efforts by the United Nations and other humanitarian actors.

Volodymyr Yelchenko (Ukraine) said the resolution clearly proved that the Council remained united and decisive in its response to the growing nuclear threat on the Korean Peninsula. It also confirmed the Council’s openness to dialogue. He urged full implementation by all Member States of Council’s resolutions related to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Pedro Luis Inchauste Jordán (Bolivia), expressing support for resumption of the six‑party talks, underlined his concern regarding the measure’s impact on civilian populations, as well as the consequences for repatriated workers and the disregard for their human rights. He also stressed his strong rejection of unilateral sanctions, calling them a violation of international law. Supporting China’s dual suspension proposal, he underscored the importance of establishing dialogue without conditions and keeping channels of communications open.

Wu Haitao (China), affirming that the resolution reflected the unanimous position of the international community, urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to abide by Council resolutions and refrain from further nuclear and ballistic missile tests. He stressed that the nuclear issue should be solved through diplomatic means, adding that the measures were not intended to hinder humanitarian assistance. The past two decades had shown that dialogue produced results and that tough posturing and confrontations caused setbacks. The nuclear issue should be solved peacefully by addressing the security concerns of all parties. Unilateral sanctions would not lead to a solution and would undermine the unity of the Council. He reiterated China’s dual suspension proposal: end missile and nuclear activities, and stop escalation of military exercises. China and the Russian Federation had issued a joint statement containing a road map towards the peaceful settlement of the issue, he noted.

Vladimir K. Safronkov (Russian Federation), demanding that all stakeholders be open to dialogue, stated his rejection of tabling a text that included last‑minute changes. He underscored that sanctions did not apply to the activities of diplomatic missions, among others. Nonetheless, some of his country’s concerns had not been heeded. Council unity was important in efforts towards a political settlement, and he called on stakeholders to undertake measures to reduce tensions. He was ready to engage with all parties, as described in the road map which his country and China had proposed, he said.

Koro Bessho (Japan), Council President for December, spoke in his national capacity and underscored that a clear signal had been sent to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: its continuation of nuclear and missile development could never be tolerated and maximum pressure would be applied to end it. He called on all Member States to renew their commitments to fully implementing sanctions for that purpose. If the regime wanted true security, it must take concrete measures toward denuclearization, comply fully with Council resolutions and return to meaningful dialogue. Japan looked forward to working closely with all relevant partners to continue to seek a comprehensive solution to the issue, he said.

Park Chull‑joo (Republic of Korea) recalled that the Council had just condemned the provocative behaviour of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as being one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, as well as a flagrant violation of relevant Council resolutions. The international community must continue to demonstrate its determination to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that a nuclear North Korea would never be recognized and that there would be consequences if it kept on going down that path.

Sanctions were not an end in themselves, he said, but an effective means to bring North Korea back on track for a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution. He urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to participate in the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games and stop its destabilizing provocations in the lead‑up to the “Olympics of peace”. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should abandon the delusional idea of pursuing security through developing illegal nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, but should redirect its efforts to deliver prosperity to its people.

The meeting began at 1:30 p.m. and ended at 2:30 p.m.
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