Statement by Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, at the UN Security Council Briefing on the November 21 Launch by the DPRK

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November 27, 2023

Mr. President,

I thank Mr. Khiari for his briefing.

On November 21, after two failed attempts in May and August, North Korea announced that it had placed a military reconnaissance satellite into orbit.

This launch demonstrates that North Korea is continuing activities contrary to its international obligations. The launch of this spacecraft uses ballistic technologies, demonstrating the worrying progress made by North Korea in its illicit ballistic missile program. This is yet another clear violation of the Council’s resolutions.

North Korea has stepped up its nuclear rhetoric in recent months. Last September, it amended its constitution to enshrine the possession of nuclear weapons. The Pyongyang authorities repeatedly call for an exponential increase in North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. These provocations contribute to increasing regional and international tensions. They constitute a direct challenge to the integrity of the international non-proliferation regime and to the authority of the Security Council.

The Council cannot remain silent in the face of these violations. We regret that permanent members of the Council, nuclear-weapon states within the meaning of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, are publicly showing support for North Korea’s illicit programs.

This Council must demonstrate unity, and reaffirm its obligation to implement its own resolutions.

This obligation applies to North Korea, as it does to all UN member states. In this respect, we can only reiterate our concern at the mutual arms transfers between North Korea and the Russian Federation. These constitute violations of the embargo established by resolutions of this Council, and direct support for the North Korean regime in its proliferation activities.

France once again calls upon North Korea to comply with its international obligations. It urges it to choose the path of diplomacy, and to respond to the proposals for dialogue that have been made to it, in order to initiate discussions with a view to the complete, irreversible and verifiable abandonment of its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.

Finally, it calls on North Korea to give priority to the well-being of its population rather than devoting its scarce resources to developing its nuclear arsenal, and to speed up the reopening of its borders and the return of humanitarian actors.

Thank you.

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