Statement at the UNGA 77th plenary meeting on the DPRK issues (Amb. CHO Hyun)

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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Cho Hyun

Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea

General Assembly

New York, 8 June 2022

Thank you, Mr. President.

I would first like to thank you, Mr. President, for convening this plenary meeting of the General Assembly to debate the vetoes that were cast in the Security Council on May 26. As this is the first GA meeting to address the use of veto following the resolution adopted unanimously on April 26, I take this opportunity to highlight the collective will of Member States yearning for a more accountable and transparent Security Council.

We are here today to debate the outcome of the Security Council meeting held on May 26. It is with deep regret that the Security Council, for the first time in handling the DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs since 2006, has failed to respond to the DPRK’s serious provocations. The latest resolution, 2397, which has been adopted unanimously, has expressed the Security Council’s firm determination to take further significant measures in the event of a further DPRK’s ICBM launch and decided a concrete action to be taken in such case. Nevertheless, the Security Council has failed to act up to its commitment and missed an opportunity to meet the united expectation of the international community.

Some have argued that the Security Council’s silence would induce restraint and dialogue from the DPRK. On the contrary, we have instead witnessed the largest number of ballistic missile launches this year, including eight launches last Saturday alone, which represents the largest number thus far in a single day. And this is all the more alarming given that the DPRK is seemingly preparing for another nuclear test, as the Director General of the IAEA Rafael Grossi also testified two days ago.

Mr. President,

While the Security Council resolution was not adopted, many parts of the ensuing meaningful debate proceeding the vote resonates strongly with us. The expressed position of 13 members of the Council clearly demonstrates an overwhelming convergence of the international community’s position on this matter. This is a solemn testament to the international community’s condemnation of the DPRK’s continued violations of UN Security Council resolutions.

Under this backdrop, the Republic of Korea joins the international community in condemning, in the strongest terms, the DPRK’s repeated ballistic missile launches. Each of these activities constitutes a flagrant violation of multiple Security Council resolutions. The provocations also threaten the peace and security of the Korean Peninsula, the region, and beyond.

Furthermore, the DPRK’s continued activities in advancing its nuclear and ballistic missile programs directly undermine the global non-proliferation regime, raising yet another immense challenge over the upcoming 10th NPT Review Conference.

We urge the DPRK to stop such provocative actions, abide by all relevant Security Council Resolutions, and respond to the call for dialogue and peace on the Korean Peninsula through complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization. We also call on the DPRK to cooperate with the international community to mitigate humanitarian suffering from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Mr. President,

The Republic of Korea would like to stress that the door for dialogue remains open despite the DPRK’s repeated provocations and threats, and our hand of unconditional assistance on the pandemic is still extended. The DPRK’s concern – whether it is a security or humanitarian one – can be much better addressed through dialogue and engagement than self-isolation and continued defiance of Security Council resolutions. We once again urge the DPRK to change its course and participate in meaningful dialogue for denuclearization. And let me be clear. No one harbors any hostile policy towards Pyongyang, not is there any reason to do so.

We are deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in the DPRK.  Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that their humanitarian suffering comes from state policy, not the ensuing sanctions. We have all witnessed how the DPRK dissipated their scarce resources by blowing up expensive missiles in the sky.

Mr. President,

The purpose of today’s General Assembly is to debate the veto, thereby strengthening the United Nations system. In this spirit, my delegation would like to stress that when we debate the role of the Security Council, we should stay focused on this specific goal: to recall that UN Member States have conferred on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and urge the Council to fulfill its responsibilities.

In this regard, let us collectively urge, help, and guide the Security Council to function properly, in particular on the matter of the DPRK. The responsibility of addressing the DPRK issue does not lie with certain countries alone. Rather, it is a collective responsibility of the Council itself, as every past resolution explicitly ends with the phrase, “the Security Council decides to remain seized of the matter.”

At the same time, we would like to bring attention to the need to fully implement the existing Security Council resolutions by all Member States. Article 25 of the UN Charter stipulates that the Members of the United Nations must accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council. This is an obligation conferred on all of us; and as we stand here today let us reaffirm our solemn duty. I thank you, Mr. President.

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