Press Conference by Security Council President on Programme of Work for June

The Security Council will convene a high-level open debate on cybersecurity in June as malicious cyberspace activities with their transnational nature, including cyberattacks against critical infrastructure, are considered threats to international peace and security, its President told a Headquarters press conference today.

Joonkook Hwang (Republic of Korea), who holds the 15-member organ’s rotating presidency for the month, noted that his country has never harmed other States and does not have “any hidden agenda” in most international peace and security issues.  “This helps us position ourselves on the majority of the Security Council agendas in a constructive and straightforward manner,” he said, pledging that Seoul will guide the Council with efficiency, transparency and inclusiveness.

The meeting on cybersecurity, chaired by Minister for Foreign Affairs Cho Tae-yul, will be held on 20 June, and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and a civil society representative are expected to brief the Council, he said.

Other items on the work programme include an annual open debate on children and armed conflict on 26 June.  Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Catherine Russell, a civil society representative, and former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, also Deputy Chair of the Elders, are invited to speak.

Citing a “busy” calendar, he said that 15 briefings and 12 consultations have already been scheduled, with many mandated meetings, including on Somalia, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan.  Separately, the Council is expected to extend the mandates of some missions, including the sanctions regime on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Additional meetings might be convened upon request regarding the deeply concerning security and humanitarian situations in Gaza and Ukraine — the Council’s two dominant issues over the last several months, he said, also underlining that his delegation will highlight how women’s and climate issues affect peace and security.

“Last but not least, peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula is one of our core interests,” he said, noting that the Council stands ready to convene a meeting in response to any possible provocations by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  The advancement of Pyongyang’s weapons of mass destruction programme is closely intertwined with that country’s dire human rights and humanitarian situation. “Human rights and peace and security issues should be approached in a holistic manner” in this case, he said, adding that the Council intends to hold an open briefing on the matter.

Asked about the Council’s response to the situation in Rafah, he said that the Algeria-proposed draft resolution is on the table and “very important” diplomatic efforts are also ongoing outside the organ. Therefore, negotiations on the Council’s text may take some time.  On Palestine’s full UN membership, he said that his country voted in favour of such status both in the Security Council and the General Assembly, with a view to a two-State solution.  However, bilaterally recognizing Palestine as a State is a separate matter.  “We will do that in a more appropriate time when we decide on the timing,” he said.

Regarding the situation in Sudan and a draft resolution put forward by the United Kingdom on El Fasher, he said that Council members share the view that the African country is relatively overlooked and it is time to act. Negotiations on an outcome document are about to begin, and his delegation will facilitate the discussions.

Asked about the situation on the Korean Peninsula, he said that the Council has not been able to reach a consensus on action against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea since 2017.  The situation is getting worse, but the dynamics in the Council have not changed much.  Recently, the Council failed to renew the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the sanctions regime against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, due single-handedly to the veto of the Russian Federation.  “We will try to find some common ground” to take some action, in close consultation with the United States, Japan and other countries, he said.

Pressed further on the termination of the Panel of Experts, he said that various alternatives are on the table, with the merits and potential risks of each option being carefully considered.

Regarding the meeting on cybersecurity, he said that his delegation is not planning to push for any outcome document in the form of a presidential statement or resolution but intends to focus on a key question of how the Council should and can address this emerging but critical security matter.

For the full programme of work, please see:

For information media. Not an official record.