Statement by Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the UN, the UN Security Council Stakeout on the Recent ICBM Launch by the DPRK

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17 April 2023

Mr. President,

I would like to thank Mr. Khiari for his briefing.

Warning sirens rang out once again over the island of Hokkaido after the launch of a long-range ballistic missile on April 13. The threat posed by North Korea to its neighbors is very real. For over a year now, confronted with the increasing number of launches, we have remained disunited and silent.

France strongly condemns this new launch, and I say this in all seriousness: this Council can no longer accept inaction.

Mr. President,

The launch of this new solid fuel missile demonstrates the continued progress of the North Korean program. A ballistic missile of this sort is faster to launch, easier to deploy, and more difficult to locate.

This is particularly worrying given the escalation in the past few weeks. While Pyongyang is, in its own words, preparing for a “real war” and threatens to turn the Pacific into a “firing range,” North Korea has declared itself an “irreversible” nuclear power.

Allow me to say once again that France will not accept North Korea becoming a nuclear state. This is a position that has been unanimously and consistently recalled by this Council.

Doing nothing, or being complacent with North Korea, would mean normalizing nuclear proliferation. It would amount to accepting that in future proliferation crises multiply elsewhere in the world. Lastly, it would mean accepting a direct challenge to the authority of this Council’s decisions.

To stop escalation, all international sanctions adopted unanimously must be fully implemented, and all forms of circumventions must be countered, particularly in the cyber sphere.

Mr. President,

Faced with these provocations, the priority is to resume dialogue, without preconditions. Proposals to this end have been made; it is for the North Korean authorities to seize them, and for the States in the region to encourage them to do so. Our objective remains unchanged: the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea.

This Council must set an example. It must ensure that its own decisions are respected. We need a united and determined response from the international community as soon as possible. France will spare no effort to achieve this.

Thank you.

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