8353rd Security Council Meeting: Non-Proliferation

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17-Sep-2018 02:04:22
United States, Russian Federation trade accusations of interference in expert panel’s report as Security Council considers non-proliferation at 8353rd meeting.

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The representatives of the United States and the Russian Federation traded accusations today over the report of the Panel of Experts relating to the sanctions imposed on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as the Security Council met to consider non‑proliferation.

Arguing that the Russian Federation interfered with the Panel’s work, which her counterpart denied, the representative of the United States said that Moscow, having agreed to the sanctions, is now asking the Council to ease them and has been caught cheating, violating the measures and attempting to cover up the violations. Now is the wrong time to ease sanctions pressure and cheating should not be tolerated, she emphasized, saying Russian interference led to the changes in the midterm report of the 1718 Committee’s Panel of Experts.

“Russian corruption is like a virus,” she continued, warning: “If we’re not careful, the sickness will spread to the Council.” The final denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the goal of the entire international community, she said, urging the Russian Federation to demonstrate that it shares that objective and calling upon all Council members to demand that the Panel submit its original report.

The Russian Federation’s delegate dismissed the allegations, saying that the Panel has become a hostage to Washington. While no State should interfere with the work of the Panel, its experts do not work in a vacuum, he pointed out. The original report did not reflect the Russian Federation’s legitimate concerns, he explained, stressing that it is the United States that is interfering with the Panel’s work by blocking the dissemination of the latest version of its report, to which experts, including those from the United States, agreed.

He insisted that denuclearization must start with confidence‑building measures. The signing of a peace treaty by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea could put an end to the state of war on the Korean Peninsula, he pointed out, adding that a restrictive measure should not be an end in itself. “Sanctions cannot replace diplomacy,” he stressed.

China’s delegate said that there is no military solution and “confrontation is a dead end”, proposing a dual‑track approach: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should suspend its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and the United States and the Republic of Korea should suspend their joint military exercises. China has fulfilled Security Council resolutions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and can submit a record of oil exports to that country, he said, underlining that it will handle violations, if found, in accordance with its own laws.

The representative of the Republic of Korea said the Council and the international community acted in unity to fully implement the sanctions regime, sending a clear message to Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons programme. To achieve the complete denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, efforts must focus on maintaining the hard‑won momentum for negotiations towards a diplomatic solution, he said, citing the efforts of his own country and the United States.

A significant breakthrough is expected during the next inter‑Korean summit in Pyongyang, which will help to resume stalled negotiations between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he continued. “No doubt the road ahead will be bumpy,” he noted. “We must pursue our shared goal of the complete denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with patience, persistence and, above all, a united stance and solidarity.” In doing so, sanctions must be implemented in a mutually complementary manner.

Japan’s delegate said that at this critical juncture, it is to be hoped that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will seize the opportunity and take concrete steps to denuclearize. While engaging with Pyongyang, sanctions must be fully implemented, he said, reiterating that now is not the time to ease the measures. The international community must be united in stopping related violations, he added. Sharing the view of the United States that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea breached the annual cap for refined petroleum products, as outlined in resolution 2397 (2017), he said all Member States must stop such actions.

The Council also heard a briefing by Rosemary DiCarlo, Under‑Secretary‑General for Political Affairs, who noted several positive developments relating to Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes over recent months, including an immediate halt to nuclear explosive testing and flight tests of certain longer‑range ballistic missiles.

In the meantime, there continue to be signs that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is maintaining and developing its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, she said, noting that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) remains unable to gain access to the country and verify the correctness and completeness of its declarations under its safeguards agreement.

“A year ago, the Peninsula was the most tense and dangerous peace and security issue in the world,” she recalled, adding that, today, progress has been made on building trust, reducing military tensions, and opening or reopening channels of communication. “A foundation has been established to make tangible progress on the core issues,” she said, encouraging all Member States to support the parties in their diplomatic efforts, and to ensure full implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions.

Also speaking today were representatives of Sweden, France, Kuwait, Equatorial Guinea, United Kingdom, Côte d’Ivoire, Peru, Poland, Netherlands, Bolivia, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia.

The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 12:08 p.m.
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