Non-proliferation (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) - Security Council, 9146th Meeting

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05-Oct-2022 01:25:58
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s ballistic missile launch over Japan a ‘reckless act’, Assistant Secretary-General tells Security Council.

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Delegates Urge Return to Negotiations, Unified Council Response, But Differ on Application of New Sanctions

The ballistic missile launch of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on 4 October was a reckless act and a clear violation of Security Council resolutions, a United Nations senior political and peacebuilding official told the Security Council today, as members demanded that Pyongyang refrain from further provocations, engage in meaningful dialogue and halt its nuclear and missiles programmes.

Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific in the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, reported that according to various Government sources, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea launched a ballistic missile at approximately 7:23 a.m. local time on 4 October. The missile, which has not been publicly acknowledged by that country, marked the first time that it had launched a ballistic missile over Japanese territory since 15 September 2017.

The Secretary-General calls on Pyongyang to immediately cease further destabilizing acts, comply fully with its international obligations, and take steps to resume dialogue with a view to achieving complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, he said. Detailing other troubling developments, he said the Secretary-General commends the key parties for their willingness to engage in dialogue with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea without preconditions. “The unity of the Security Council in this matter is essential to ease tensions, overcome the diplomatic impasse and avoid a negative action-reaction cycle,” he said.

In the ensuing discussion, many delegates agreed that dialogue is the way forward and called on Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table, while diverging on the application of sanctions. Many urged the Council to send a clear and unified message and condemned Pyongyang’s provocative actions, while others underscored the need for humanitarian aid to flow freely into the country.

The representative of the United States, noting that “Pyongyang clearly feels emboldened,” recalled that 13 Council members had voted in favour of imposing real costs in response to its actions. Nonetheless, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea still “enjoys blanket protection from two members of the Council, who have justified its provocations”. Although committed to dialogue and diplomacy, the United States will not tolerate claims that its defensive actions are the cause of such threats, she stressed, calling on the Council to fully implement existing resolutions and for a resolution to address Pyongyang’s efforts to evade sanctions.

Albania’s representative was among several delegates who called for unity within the 15-member body, stressing that the Council must “stand up and speak with one voice” in denouncing the behaviour of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and holding it accountable. “It is nonsense for members of the Security Council to protect Democratic People’s Republic of Korea from not getting angry,” she said, calling on the Council to use its tools and power to ensure the full implementation of sanctions.

The speaker for China explained that launch activities by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea occurred either before or after joint military exercises by the United States and other countries in the region, adding that the latter ignored the former’s positive denuclearization measures and did not address its reasonable concerns. Dialogue and consultations are the only way to resolve the Korean Peninsula issue, he said, calling on the United States to create conditions for dialogue to resume. For their part, China and the Russian Federation have jointly tabled a resolution to ease the humanitarian situation on the ground and create a favourable atmosphere for mutual trust.

In a similar vein, the representative of the Russian Federation also stressed that Pyongyang’s missile launches are the consequence of short-sighted, confrontational military activity by the United States. Countering other delegations, she underscored that introducing new sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea “is a dead end,” and that the United Nations and the Council must support inter-Korean dialogue and multilateral negotiations, rather than impeding them.

The speaker for the Republic of Korea observed that some have argued that the Council should show restraint and not further irritate the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, yet that country is responding to the Council’s silence by launching more missiles and promulgating a new law on the use of nuclear weapons. In 2022 alone, it has launched a total of 39 ballistic missiles. “The Security Council must take decisive measures to send a unified and clear message to Pyongyang that its escalatory behaviour must come to an end,” he said, urging the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to respond positively to Seoul’s proposal for sincere and substantive denuclearization talks and to cease all provocations.

The representative of Japan further detailed that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has launched eight ballistic missiles over five separate launches in just 10 days — part of Pyongyang’s reinvigorated missile programme. They mark a clear escalation; pose a grave threat to the peace and security of Japan, the region and beyond; and challenge the very authority of the Council. “Silence is not an option,” he emphasized, urging the Council to act resolutely and “not allow the current situation to become a new normal”.

Also speaking were representatives of France, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, India, United Arab Emirates, Ghana, Mexico, Kenya, Brazil, Gabon.

The representatives of United States, China and the Russian Federation took the floor a second time.

The meeting began at 3:03 p.m. and ended at 4:28 p.m.

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