Security Council Members, Urging Unity for Addressing Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s New Missile Launch, Argue over How to Defuse Regional Tensions
While urging one another to end their five-year impasse and unite to counter the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s repeated launchings of ballistic missiles, Security Council members argued over the best approach to accomplish that, as a senior United Nations official briefed the 15-nation organ on Pyongyang’s latest round of projectiles.
Miroslav Jenča, Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas, Departments for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, emphasized that “the situation on the Korean Peninsula continues to head in the wrong direction”, as he briefed Council members on the most recent launches and informed them that Pyongyang has carried out 14 launches of ballistic missiles in 2023 after sending out 70 launches that used ballistic-missile technology in 2022.
Citing the Secretary-General’s strong condemnation of the release of another ballistic missile with intercontinental range, he also underscored that tensions are continuing to increase “with no off-ramps in sight”. He urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to refrain from additional launches and restart dialogue that will lead to a sustainable peace and the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. He also urged that communication channels be enhanced, particularly military to military. “Reducing confrontational rhetoric will help to lower political tensions and create space to explore diplomatic avenues,” he said.
In the ensuing debate, Council members chided each other for their prolonged inaction which has led to monthly meetings and has eroded the Council’s credibility as a guarantor of international peace and security.
The representative of the United Kingdom urged members to protect the Council’s credibility by challenging these violations with a firm and united response. Five years of inaction — forced by two members — have left no one safer, he pointed out, emphasizing that it is time for a comprehensive resolution that addresses international security concerns with new targeted measures, sets the conditions for renewed dialogue and facilitates humanitarian aid.
The representative of Brazil commented that the Council can resign itself to hear briefings every month, condemn missile launches and restate national positions, or think creatively about the United Nations role in curbing tensions, enabling engagement and establishing a transparent process of negotiation. To that end, a draft presidential statement shared by the United States provides a good starting point for negotiation. The Council must revisit the Chapter VI toolbox and reduce tensions by using all of its tools, including those for the peaceful settlement of disputes, he said.
The United States’ representative said the Council’s silence jeopardizes the global non-proliferation regime and emboldens Pyongyang to flaunt the Council’s collective mandate. “How many times must the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] violate its Security Council resolution obligations before China and Russia stop shielding the DPRK regime?”, she asked. Enough is enough, she answered, imploring members to return to the cooperation that used to exist. The proposed presidential statement would condemn these actions as a clear threat to international peace and security, reaffirm and fully implement the resolutions the Council has unanimously adopted, and urge Pyongyang to abandon its unlawful programmes and instead engage in dialogue.
The Russian Federation’s delegate reiterated that her delegation objects to any military activity that jeopardizes the security of the Korean Peninsula and countries in North-East Asia. Referring to the “hawkish rhetoric” of the United States and its allies, she voiced her concern that the military exercises of the United States and Republic of Korea are portrayed as the will of the Republic of Korea-United States alliance to achieve “peace through strength”. There is no alternative to a multilateral political diplomatic process, she emphasized.
The representative of the Republic of Korea, condemning the continued ballistic-missile launches, including one set off just hours before his President’s flight to Japan, underscored that that launch was a deliberate attempt to sabotage a critical milestone towards Tokyo and Seoul’s future bilateral relations. Remaining silent since two permanent members’ vetoes in May 2022, the Council has turned a blind eye to Pyongyang’s repeated and brazen violations. While controversial, sanctions slow down the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes, he pointed out. Pyongyang’s brazen mockery of the United Nations must finally end and the Council must hold the country accountable.
Japan’s representative reported that the recent missile landed just 200 kilometres from her country. The Council should not let the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea hold the international community hostage. “Let us not get ourselves bogged down in political rhetoric — this is not about finding a solution to an equal-footed conflict among parties,” she stressed. It is about preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and standing against the threat of nuclear weapons. She urged Council members to fulfil its responsibility to maintain international peace and security. For its part, Japan supports the United States-proposed presidential statement. “Where do we stand: on the side of the rule-breaker or on the side of the rule-keeper?”, she asked, responding: “We know the correct answer: let’s do our job.”
Also speaking today were the representatives of Albania, France, Malta, Ecuador, Ghana, Gabon, Switzerland, China, United Arab Emirates and Mozambique.
The meeting began at 10:28 a.m. and ended at 12:12 p.m.
MIROSLAV JENČA, Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas, Departments for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, said that, according to its official news agency, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea conducted what it described as an intercontinental ballistic missile launching drill on 16 March. It announced that the ballistic missile — which it designated as Hwasong-17 — flew a distance of 1,000 kilometres and to an altitude of 6,045 kilometres. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea also launched a short-range ballistic missile on Sunday (local time) and characterized it as being part of a “drill simulating a nuclear counterattack”. This was the fourth event in 11 days in which the Government carried out launches using ballistic missile technology. It has carried out 14 launches of such systems in 2023, he recalled.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea greatly increased its missile launch activities in 2022, including approximately 70 launches using ballistic-missile technology, he continued. Most of the systems it tested are capable of striking countries in the immediate region. As well, the systems it tested on 16 March and 18 February, as well as on two occasions last year, are capable of reaching most points on the Earth. He cited the Secretary-General’s strong condemned the launch of yet another ballistic missile of intercontinental range by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as well as its other launches using ballistic-missile technology, he called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to immediately desist from taking any further destabilizing actions, to fully comply with its international obligations under all relevant Council resolutions, and to resume dialogue leading to sustainable peace and the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, he said.
However, he reported, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is actively pursuing its nuclear weapons programme. In September 2022, it approved a new law which set out conditions in which it could use nuclear weapons, including pre-emptively in certain circumstances. This nuclear doctrine was reiterated in the official newspaper of the Workers’ Party of Korea (Rodong Sinmun) on 17 March. The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported on 6 March that the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site “remains prepared to support a nuclear test”. IAEA has continued to observe activity at the site, and construction activities at the Yongbyon nuclear facilities, as well as indications that the five-megawatt nuclear reactor was operating. A seventh nuclear test would be a flagrant violation of Council resolutions and undermine the international norm against nuclear testing, he stressed.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has clearly stated its intention to continue pursuing its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, in violation of relevant Council resolutions, he pointed out. Emphasizing that “the situation on the Korean Peninsula continues to head in the wrong direction,” he underscored that tensions are continuing to increase, “with no off-ramps in sight”. Citing the Secretary-General’s deep concern over the divisions that have prevented the international community from acting on this matter, as well as on other threats to peace and security around the world, he said: “The Korean Peninsula must be an area for cooperation.” In that regard, today’s meeting was providing an opportunity to discuss practical measures for achieving a peaceful, comprehensive, diplomatic and political solution to the situation on the Korean Peninsula, he said
As the Council considers its options, there are several practical measures that could reduce tensions. First, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea needs to take immediate steps to resume dialogue leading to sustainable peace and the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. This should include refraining from carrying out further launches using ballistic-missile technology or nuclear tests. Secondly, communication channels must be enhanced, particularly military to military. “Reducing confrontational rhetoric will help to lower political tensions and create space to explore diplomatic avenues,” he said. He also highlighted the concerns regarding the humanitarian situation in the country and the United Nations stands ready to address medical and other basic needs of the vulnerable populations.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States), condemning in the strongest possible terms the recent missile launches, said that they are not only threatening, destabilizing and unlawful, but also allow the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to advance the development of more sophisticated and dangerous weapons. The Council’s silence in the face of such escalations weakens its credibility, jeopardizes the global non-proliferation regime and emboldens Pyongyang’s appetite to flaunt its collective mandate. “How many times must the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] violate its Security Council resolution obligations before China and Russia stop shielding the DPRK regime? How often must DPRK choose ammunitions over nutrition? How many starving people in the DPRK does it take?”, she asked. Enough is enough, she answered, imploring members to return to the cooperation that used to exist. The Council and the international community must condemn these actions as a clear threat to international peace and security; reaffirm and fully implement the resolutions it has unanimously adopted; and urge Pyongyang to abandon its unlawful programmes and instead engage in dialogue. The United States has proposed a presidential statement to do just that, she said, encouraging all to join in these messages towards peace.
FERIT HOXHA (Albania) said that new missile launches by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea constitute another blatant violation of Council resolutions; threaten maritime and aviation security; and endanger lives and stability across the entire Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang has made its choice, he stressed, as it has resolved to continue defying the international community, international law and the Council. Underscoring that the Council must make clear, in a united voice, that this course is dangerous and unsustainable, he observed that the 15-member organ’s mandate is not to remain silent and indifferent. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea cannot continue violating Council resolutions and sanctions regimes with impunity while threatening the world with its weapons-of-mass-destruction programme. The organ must clearly tell the regime that its continued threat to peace and security will not be tolerated, and Albania supports Council actions and products towards this end. “We should stop sleepwalking on this critical issue, and not wait for a catastrophe to wake up,” he added.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France), noting that intercontinental ballistic missiles, such as Hwasong-17, constitute a threat to all Council members, said that short-range missiles — like the one launched — are produced in sequence. Highlighting nuclear rhetoric and a possible preparation of the seventh nuclear test, he said such provocations defy the authority of the Council. Noting that the 15-member organ’s division offers Pyongyang some cover, he reiterated that France will never accept the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea becoming a nuclear State. In this regard, he underscored the importance of renewing dialogue, adding that respective proposals have been put forward. Stressing the importance of complete denuclearization, he urged the Council to enforce its own decisions.
SHINO MITSUKO (Japan), voicing her regret that the Council has to discuss the same situation one month later, pointed out the recent missile landed just 200 kilometres from her country, and is estimated to have the capability to hit all of Asia, all of Europe, all of North America, all of Africa and even part of South America — threatening Japan, the region and beyond. In light of this, the Council should not allow that Government to take the entire international community hostage. “Let us not get ourselves bogged down in political rhetoric — this is not about finding a solution to an equal-footed conflict among parties,” she stressed, adding: “It is about preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and standing against the threat of nuclear weapons.” Against that backdrop, all Council members must join the call for nuclear non-proliferation and must not provide a loophole for that country. The only vicious cycle in which the Council has been trapped is a “negative action-inaction cycle” by which its members have long failed to act in response to provocative actions and Pyongyang has taken advantage of such silence. Underscoring that it is high time to end this cycle, she urged members to fulfil its heavy responsibility to maintain international peace and security. For its part, Japan supports the United States-proposed presidential statement. “Where do we stand: on the side of the rule-breaker or on the side of the rule-keeper?”, she asked, responding: “We know the correct answer: let’s do our job.”
JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom), condemning the 16 arch launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, said that, while some Council members may seek to equate lawful defensive military exercises with such actions, defensive exercises are safe when other States are notified in advance and when such exercises operate within defined areas, as the Republic of Korea and the United States have done. He urged members to protect the Council’s credibility by challenging these violations with a firm and united response. As five years of inaction — forced by two members — have left no one safer, now is the time for a comprehensive resolution that addresses international security concerns with new targeted measures; sets the conditions for renewed dialogue; and facilitates aid. The cost of these illicit launches is being borne by Pyongyang’s people, whose Government diverts resources from basic economic needs, he reminded all, calling on that Government to allow the Organization’s international staff to enter the country; cease its launches; and engage meaningfully with the offers of dialogue. Diplomacy is the only route to sustained peace on the Peninsula, he emphasized, underlining that all Member States must implement existing resolutions in full.
FRANCESCA GATT (Malta) spotlighted resolution 2397 (2017), adopted unanimously in response to a launch, which had decided that the Council would act to place further restrictions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea if faced with further launches. Yet, today, the Council stands frozen and forced against responding to any of the launches witnessed over the past year. Further, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea recently announced a new doctrine setting out conditions in which it could use nuclear weapons, including pre-emptively and announced that it would “exponentially increase” its nuclear weapons arsenal, including tactical weapons; develop another intercontinental ballistic missile system; and launch its first military satellite. “The gravity of this situation cannot be overstated,” she said, underlining that the Council cannot continue to stand by while its decisions, as defined in a number of its own resolutions, and credibility are consistently undermined. She urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to engage in meaningful dialogue towards denuclearization and to adhere to its obligations under Council resolutions. More so, expressing concern for the humanitarian situation in the country, she called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to restore access to United Nations and other humanitarian actors so that its population can receive aid.
ANDRÉS EFREN MONTALVO SOSA (Ecuador) observed that launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles have become a recurrent practice since 2022, without any united response from the Council. These actions threaten regional and international peace and security, exacerbate tensions and undermine the credibility of the Council’s efforts. Against this backdrop, he condemned the recent launch which is in defiance of the provisions of the Council and disarmament and non-proliferation international architecture. He urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to resume its obligations, as set forth in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The Council condemned that country for fabricating nuclear arms and ballistic missiles, he recalled, voicing support for efforts to achieve political and diplomatic solution that would provide for verifiable and irreversible denuclearization for the Peninsula. He urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to comply with the Council’s provisions.
JOÃO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil) stressed that the Council can resign itself to hear briefings every month, condemn missile launches and restate national positions. Alternatively, there could be fewer meetings and less action, as the situation is too complex, with not enough overlap in positions to permit Council action. Thus, the Council would meet only in the event of unusual developments, such as a nuclear test, he said, adding: “The rest of the time, amid missile launches and rising risks of accidents, we would simply hope for the best.” However, a draft presidential statement shared by the United States, provides a good starting point for negotiation. The Council should highlight both the need for condemnation and for sustained engagement, he stated, calling for a balanced document that represents the diversity its members’ views. Moreover, Member States should think creatively about the role that the United Nations itself can play in bringing down tensions, facilitating engagement and helping establish a transparent process of negotiation. To find a comprehensive solution to this file, the Council “must revisit the Chapter VI toolbox”, he asserted. Further, the Council should reduce tensions by using all of its tools, including those for the peaceful settlement of disputes, he said.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana), recalling that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has launched 11 short-range and 2 intercontinental ballistic missiles, including Hwasong-17, since the beginning of 2023, called for de-escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Recognizing that the Council’s instruments of influence have not been successful, he urged its members to reassess their approach and recommit to the common objectives. A principled and pragmatic approach based on diplomacy, dialogue and trust-building is needed to allow for constructive engagement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and other major stakeholders on that country’s weapons programme, he said. In this regard, he encouraged States to work collaboratively to strengthen the unity of the Council.
EDWIGE KOUMBY MISSAMBO (Gabon) said these launches by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are becoming regular occurrences and their increasing potency means the gravity of the situation is escalating. The launches are accompanied by hawkish rhetoric of the use of force which leaves no doubt of the level of threat for the Korean Peninsula and at the international level. The situation needs to be quickly put to an end to eliminate the risk of an intentional or inadvertent disaster. Her delegation, as a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, condemns these launches. The Council has a duty to guarantee international peace and security. People living in this heavily populated part of the world are living under persistent threat of attack or accident. She urged all parties to spare no effort to break the current impasse and return to the negotiating table. The production of such weapons must be halted. The status quo is escalating tensions and each new launch increases the likelihood of confrontation. She called on all parties, and those with influence, to resume negotiations. The obstacles to talks need to be removed.
PASCALE CHRISTINE BAERISWYL (Switzerland), reiterating that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear programme is a threat to the entire international community, stressed that the Council cannot ignore its duty and responsibilities which includes condemning ballistic-missile tests. She urged Pyongyang to implement its obligations by abandoning its nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and related programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner and called on it and all other Annex 2 States to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. She also voiced her hope that Pyongyang lifts its severe pandemic-related restrictions on international humanitarian assistance so that such aid may quickly resume. Turning to the Council’s role in encouraging dialogue, de-escalation and the search for diplomatic solutions, she pointed out that the 15-member organ’s prolonged silence causes concern and prevents it from acting on the Korean Peninsula. There is a collective and individual will to conduct and support dialogue, she noted, encouraging the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to engage with the Council and the United Nations system in a constructive manner. As this call for dialogue should be based on a unified position, a presidential statement may be the best to achieve this, she stressed.
GENG SHUANG (China), voicing his concern over the increasing tensions and rising confrontation on the Peninsula, pointed out that the United States wasted an important opportunity to achieve denuclearization by failing to respond with goodwill. Since the beginning of the year, that country and others have continued their unprecedented, large-scale, joint military exercises, further entrenching Pyongyang’s sense of insecurity. As parties must seek a solution in a calm, cool-headed and stable manner, he encouraged Washington, D.C., to demonstrate its sincerity, offer practical proposals and respond directly to Pyongyang’s legitimate concerns. For its part, the Council must play a constructive role in promoting a political solution by easing tensions, restoring dialogue and promoting unity. In that vein, a Council resolution and a presidential statement are not constructive, he said, noting his concern that this would inject fresh irritants to the current situation. He also pointed out that Washington, D.C.’s, double standard — in calling for the renouncement of nuclear weapons while transferring weapons-grade enriched uranium by the ton to a non-nuclear State — has undermined the Council’s credibility. Individual countries must heed the call of the international community and regional countries; abandon the cold war mentality; stop the political manoeuvring; and implement non-proliferation obligations in an earnest manner, he stressed.
LANA ZAKI NUSSEIBEH (United Arab Emirates) condemning the 15 March launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — the tenth of its kind in 12 months — expressed regret that Pyongyang is continuing its dangerous, irresponsible behaviour. That country is threatening its neighbours and challenging global non-proliferation norms, and the erosion of the non-proliferation regime continues to jeopardize international peace and security. Pyongyang must respect international law and the Charter of the United Nations, abide by Council resolutions and return to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Calling on the Council to unite in condemning Pyongyang’s actions, she underscored that its testing of short-range ballistic missiles for “tactical nuclear purposes” should raise a red flag. She went on to point out that millions of people in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continue to suffer from food insecurity and poverty, expressing regret that the country’s leaders are directing limited national resources towards its missile programme while its people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. Dialogue is the only way forward on the Korean Peninsula, she added.
ANNA M. EVSTIGNEEVA (Russian Federation) reiterated her country’s position of objecting to any military activity that jeopardizes the security of the Korean Peninsula and countries in North-East Asia. Drawing attention to the responsibility of Washington, D.C., and its allies in the framework of the “extended deterrence” concept and pointing to their “hawkish rhetoric”, she reported that “Freedom Shield” military exercises were launched on 13 March along with a range of field exercises. Further, for the first time in five years, United States-Republic of Korea “Ssangyong” exercises, involving navy and air forces, will commence next week. Expressing concern that these exercises are portrayed as demonstrating the will of the Republic of Korea-United States alliance to achieve “peace through strength”, she underscored that there is no alternative to multilateral political diplomatic process. Noting the persistent advancement of Washington, D.C., in Asia-Pacific and the formation of new blocs, including the trilateral partnership of the United States-United Kingdom-Australia, she pointed out that such actions result in an emergence of artificial divisive lines. Spotlighting the Russian Federation-China plan of action for a comprehensive settlement on the Korean Peninsula, she added that the “Russian-Chinese” draft political and humanitarian resolution remains on the table.
PEDRO COMISSÁRIO AFONSO (Mozambique), Council President for March, speaking in his national capacity, said that the prevailing environment of confrontation in that region poses a serious threat to peace and security. Voicing concern over the proliferation of nuclear weapons, he called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to refrain from contributing to escalation and comply with Security Council resolutions. The maintenance of peace and security in the world is the main reason behind the creation of the United Nations, he said, noting that preserving peace and stability is a responsibility of all States. Mozambique cannot accept acts that pose a serious threat to peace and stability anywhere in the world, he asserted, calling for dialogue with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to alleviate tensions in the region. He further reiterated his strong support to the vision contained in the Secretary-General’s disarmament agenda, stressing the need to save the future generations from weapons of mass destruction and promote global security through credible dialogue.
Ms. THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States), taking the floor a second time, said she needed to correct the fallacies from her Chinese and Russian counterparts. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea did not abandon its nuclear and ballistic programmes in 2018. The slew of launches since then show that the country has continued to advance its programme within its own border. The Chinese and Russian delegations are trying to distract the Council from the matter at hand, which is the proliferation of nuclear weapons by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. She also noted it was interesting and enlightening that these delegations did not call on that country to cease its testing; yet, 13 Council members condemned the testing. Regarding the two delegations’ joint resolution to provide humanitarian assistance, she said it rewarded the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for doing nothing to comply with Council resolutions and deprived people of humanitarian assistance. The joint military exercises referred to are long-standing, routine and defensive, support the security of the United States and the Republic of Korea, and bring peace and stability to the region. The United States has no hostile intentions for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and has not sent “any missiles flying over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”, she pointed out, adding: “Let’s be clear this is about the DPRK, not about the [United States].”
Mr. KARIUKI (United Kingdom), taking the floor again to address the references to the AUKUS trilateral security partnership among his country, United States and Australia, stressed that “there is simply no comparison between AUKUS and the destabilizing threat that DPRK poses to the region”. AUKUS will be conducted in a manner fully consistent with his Government’s respective obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and relevant safeguard agreements with IAEA. Regarding China and the Russian Federation’s resolution which proposes a lifting of sanctions, he pointed out that this is an incredible response to what is happening on the ground. “Frankly, the Council needs a serious response towards a serious situation on the Peninsula, not a resolution which rewards DPRK for missile tests,” he underscored.
Mr. GENG (China) reiterated his country’s support for de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and for using diplomatic means to solve issues. Stressing that the United States and its allies are increasing tensions on the Peninsula through unprecedented military exercises “as we speak”, he noted that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has expressed concern through its official media over the deteriorating situation on the Peninsula. Against that backdrop, he expressed hope that the United States will respond to these reasonable concerns and leave room for diplomatic efforts. Turning to the submarine cooperation among Australia, United Kingdom and the United States, he said that AUKUS is the “elephant in the room” and that its so-called adherence to the highest standards of nuclear non-proliferation is “pure deception”. Such cooperation represents the first transfer of weapons-grade, highly enriched uranium from a nuclear-weapons State to a non-nuclear-weapons State, contrary to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Emphasizing that the United States is practising double standards, he urged that country, United Kingdom and others to treat the joint proposal by China and the Russian Federation seriously. It is intended to create favourable conditions to improve the situation on the Peninsula, he added.
Ms. EVSTIGNEEVA (Russian Federation), also taking the floor again, pointed out that Washington, D.C.’s, military activity is unprecedented in nature. Noting that the “Ssangyong” exercises have not been carried out for five years, she said they cannot be labelled “routine”. “With its rhetoric the United States and its allies are completely turning everything upside down,” she stressed, adding that Pyongyang’s calls for a political and diplomatic resolution have been completely disregarded. Spotlighting the joint proposal by the Russian Federation and China that gears towards finding a political and diplomatic settlement, she said the United States has been constantly blocking any such attempts.
JOONKOOK HWANG (Republic of Korea) condemned the continued ballistic-missile launches, including one just a few hours before his President’s flight to Japan which was a deliberate attempt to sabotage a critical milestone towards future bilateral relations between Tokyo and Seoul. At this critical juncture, the Council remains silent due to their intransigence since two permanent members’ vetoes in May 2022 and continues to turn a blind eye to Pyongyang’s repeated and brazen violations. Addressing the misguided narratives that have contributed to such inaction and blurred the international community’s focus, he pointed out that his country’s defence and deterrence posture with the United States is in response to Pyongyang’s military threat and the duty of a responsible Government. Moreover, Pyongyang has conducted six nuclear tests and launched more than 200 ballistic missiles over the past 20 years, according to their own plan and regardless of Seoul’s military exercises and policy. The Council’s failure to respond to Pyongyang’s serious provocation in May further emboldened it, he continued, spotlighting its various declarations since then and emphasizing that Pyongyang conducts dangerous tests according to its own playbook.
The so-called positive measures which have not been reciprocated are also a false narrative, he said. Since the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes violate a number of Council resolutions, its self-declared moratorium of tests did not amount to a demonstration of goodwill, but rather an obligation it was always required to follow. That country has also neither provided the full picture of its nuclear programme, which could serve as the first step for verification, nor attempted to freeze its nuclear activities even for a short period of time; it even reversed the easy measures it took. On the so-called balanced implementation of both sanctions and dialogue, he pointed out that it is Pyongyang which outrightly rejects the continued calls for dialogue and diplomacy. While some might argue that sanctions are ineffective, it is hard to deny their contributions to slowing down that country’s nuclear and missile programmes, he observed, underlining that Pyongyang is now playing for time by taking advantage of a paralysed Council and the weakened implementation of those measures. Pyongyang’s belligerent policy — a menace to the functioning of the Council — and its brazen mockery of the United Nations must finally come to an end and its continued breach of international obligations must be held accountable by the organ, he stressed.