Remarks by Ambassador Robert Wood, Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs, at a UN Security Council Briefing on the Unlawful Arms Transfers from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to Russia

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June 28, 2024

Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, [Under]-Secretary-General Nakamitsu for your briefing. And Mr. Leff, thank you so much for your briefing. Your presentation was quite compelling.

Let me start by taking this opportunity to condemn in the strongest possible terms the DPRK’s June 25 ballistic missile launch, which violated yet again this Council’s longstanding prohibition on DPRK missile testing. It only underscores the contempt that Pyongyang consistently demonstrates towards this Council and its mandate to ensure international peace and security.

Russia ended the mandate of the 1718 Committee Panel of Experts in March with China’s tacit support, depriving all UN Member States of crucial and objective information which helps them implement their obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions.

We are grateful that independent and well-regarded experts from organizations like Conflict Armament Research continue to publish open-source investigations that provide clear reporting on DPRK sanctions violations.

Mr. President,

The briefing we just heard shows that Russia and China cannot prevent the public from learning about the unlawful arms transfers occurring between the DPRK and Russia.

The unique features of ballistic missile debris that CAR has presented as evidence clearly establish that a ballistic missile that struck Kharkiv on January 2 was manufactured in the DPRK. Russia’s procurement of such ballistic missiles from the DPRK violates the Security Council resolutions which Russia itself helped to adopt by consensus.

As a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia has a responsibility to uphold and strengthen international peace and security. Yet, Russia is launching ballistic missiles, which it unlawfully procured from the DPRK, against the Ukrainian people.

Alongside the dozens of missile transfers Russia has carried out from the DPRK, it has unlawfully transferred over 11,000 containers of munitions from the DPRK to Russia. Here again, Russia has violated the UN arms embargo on the DPRK that Russia itself voted to adopt.

Mr. President,

Russia and China continue to shield the DPRK from joint action in this Council.

We understand Russia cynically obstructs the Council on DPRK sanctions implementation in its vain bid to escape reproach for its own violations. But by refusing to condemn Russia’s violations, China only emboldens the DPRK to further provocations with ballistic missile launches and other behavior that ultimately destabilizes China’s regional security.

Mr. President,

CAR’s independent findings corroborate what we have seen in press reporting and other open-source analysis.

On April 29, Reuters reported that the 1718 Committee Panel of Experts recently inspected debris in Ukraine from a missile fired into Kharkiv on January 2. As reported, the Panel of Experts independently and conclusively determined the debris derived from a DPRK Hwasong 11-series ballistic missile, which was a violation of the UN arms embargo on the DPRK.

The Panel of Experts reviewed telemetry from the Ukraine Prosecutor General’s Office showing the ballistic missile was launched from the Russian Federation, which in conjunction with the Panel’s identification of the missile as a Hwasong 11, helped confirm that the Russian Federation procured the missile from the DPRK, in violation of Security Council resolutions.

On May 29, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency also published additional analysis showing a visual comparison of images from DPRK state media with images of missile debris from Kharkiv, Ukraine, confirming again Russia’s use of DPRK missiles against Ukraine.

Mr. President,

Earlier this month Vladimir Putin visited Pyongyang for a state visit, where he and Kim Jong-un signed a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreement, which included mutual defense obligations.

The implications of this partnership against the backdrop of ongoing military cooperation should elicit grave concern from all of us here.

Finally, it is critical to underscore that all Security Council resolutions on the DPRK remain in effect, all UN Member States are obligated to implement relevant provisions, and the Council must take seriously its responsibility to vigilantly monitor implementation to counter the DPRK’s threats to international peace and security.

Thank you, Mr. President.



Additional Remarks by Ambassador Robert Wood




Thank you, Mr. President, I apologize for taking the floor again. But I do need to respond briefly to some points that were made by the representatives of China and the Russian Federation.

First and foremost, with regard to the Chinese representative’s remarks: If indeed China is so concerned about the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, then it needs to use its influence with DPRK to persuade it from undermining regional and global security.

It should also use its influence that it has with Russia through its new no limits partnership to persuade its partner to end this increasingly dangerous military cooperation between DPRK and Russia.

To the comments from the Russian Federation: Russia’s statement and threatening rhetoric is nothing new in this chamber. Its threats against countries are also not new. Russia should understand that its growing military cooperation with DPRK is dangerous and will only further isolate it.

And my last point, with regard to a refrain we hear in this Council quite often about some countries on this Council wanting to demonize Russia. No one in this Council is trying to demonize Russia. It is Russia, through its threatening and unhinged rhetoric that is demonizing the country.

Thank you, Mr. President.




Thank you, Mr. President. I apologize for taking the floor again, but I will be very brief. As I’ve said before in this Council, my delegation will continue to call out China and any other state that is indeed violating UN Security Council resolutions, particularly with regard to issues concerning DPRK and Ukraine. And we will continue to do this.

And as I said, this type of cooperation between – particularly DPRK and Russia is a growing threat to international peace and security. And those countries with influence, need to use that influence, because what’s going on between DPRK and Russia is of great concern, not only to this Council, but to other Member States in the UN.

So, I appeal to my Chinese colleague to understand that if indeed the situation on the Korean Peninsula continues on the trajectory it’s going, the United States and its allies will have to take steps to defend their security.

So again, I appeal to my Chinese colleague: Use your influence. You have a great deal of it.

Thank you.


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