Statement by H.E. Ambassador ISHIKANE Kimihiro, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the United Nations Security Council Meeting on “Non-Proliferation/DPRK”

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August 25, 2023

Thank you, Madame President. I also thank ASG Khaled Khiari for his briefing.

It is regrettable that we are here, yet again, to discuss the same issue as we had in June and July concerning the latest ICBM launch. North Korea’s series of actions, including this week’s launch using ballistic missile technology which flew directly over the Japanese archipelago, severely threaten the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the entire international community.

These aggressive acts are flagrant violations of the relevant Security Council resolutions and serious challenge to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. Japan joins the Secretary-General in strongly condemning North Korea for the recent launch.

Madame President,

This is not about the right to use outer space.

This is not about exercising the right of self-defense.

This is about violations of Security Council resolutions.

This is about the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

In the face of North Korea’s unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs, this Council has adopted many resolutions prohibiting any launch using ballistic missile technology. This is why the Secretary-General and most Council members condemned the satellite launch at our June meeting, regardless of whether it carried a satellite or not, regardless of whether it failed or not.

Nevertheless, North Korea has continued to ignore and deny its international obligations and instead chose to pursue its military ambition according to its five-year plan. It has even shamelessly announced its intention to conduct another launch in October.

Madame President,

North Korea is disrespectful of this Council and the United Nations Charter. Let me remind fellow colleagues once again. Our solemn duty as responsible Council members cannot be fulfilled by simply sitting and discussing the matter in these Chamber seats. It requires taking concrete actions when confronted with violations of this Council’s own resolutions. Furthermore, our responsibility is to never celebrate a military parade that includes ICBMs, which demonstrates a clear violation of Security Council resolutions. I urge all Council members to be aware of our responsibilities and to restore the unity that it has shown in 2017.

Madame President,

Last week when we gathered in this chamber to discuss the human rights situation in North Korea, we all heard shocking remarks from a North Korean defector. Here I quote: “The government turns our blood and sweat into a luxurious life for the leadership and missiles that blast our hard work into the sky. We used to think that the money spent on just one missile could feed us for three months, but the government does not care,” end quote.

Let me ask again: if the money spent on launching numerous satellites and missiles toward neighboring countries had been spent on people in North Korea instead, how many would have been fed? How many lives would have been saved? It is high time for North Korea to stop developing unlawful WMDs and disseminating propaganda to justify its actions and instead to prioritize improving the welfare of the people in North Korea.

Japan urges North Korea not to conduct further launches and once again calls on North Korea to immediately and fully comply with all relevant resolutions, resume substantive dialogue with the countries concerned toward complete denuclearization. The path to dialogue remains open.

I thank you.

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