Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on situation on the Korean Peninsula

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June 28, 2024

Point of order:

Mr. President,

We would like to set on record our fundamental disagreement with the Chairmanship’s decision to invite Ukraine and the EU to this meeting.

It is obvious that these participants have nothing to do with the regional issues to be discussed under the item “Non-Proliferation/DPRK” nor will they make any substantive contribution to the discussion. It is also evident that the only purpose of their attendance the Security Council meeting is to politicize and “sing along” with unsubstantiated tabloid-like speculations replicated by the Western members of the Security Council. All this is needed only to add the voice of these invitees to the “chorus” of unfounded allegations, which, as we know, will definitely follow today.

We regret that for the umpteenth time during its “watch”, the South Korean presidency has violated the principle of impartiality, which the President of the United Nations Security Council should comply with. They do that to accommodate the opportunistic interests of the collective West. Not only is that an abuse of the presidency, but also the improper fulfillment of the responsibilities by the presidency. This unfortunately blemishes hugely the reputation of the Republic of Korea as the President of the Security Council.

I would like to preface by saying that I am not going to listen to these speakers.

Thank you.


Main Statement:

Mr. President,

The goal of the group of countries that requested today’s meeting is crystal clear: once again they try to use the UN Security Council to spin anti-Russian and anti-North Korean narratives and replicate unfounded allegations in order to divert attention from their own destructive actions that are fueling escalation in the region. However, Washington and its allies will not be able to obscure the array of threats generated in Northeast Asia and their real source in a “fog of propaganda”.

It is no secret that the U.S. has long been undertaken the military expansion in the Asia-Pacific region, trying to consolidate its hegemony there and impose a bloc mentality on the countries of the region. After all, the “small geometry” formats like QUAD and the AUKUS partnership, created in the image and likeness of NATO, as well as the new triangle of U.S.-Japan-Republic of Korea “allies” serve the same purpose. We regret that our longtime friends and partners in Seoul are rapidly losing their independence under Washington’s pressure, putting at risk their own national interests, driven, among other things, by the geography of the region. This extremely dangerous path and nothing good will come of it for Seoul.

Everything that has been unfolding in Northeast Asia over the past years is a direct projection of Washington’s policy of creeping militarization of the Asia-Pacific region. The DPRK defends its right to independent development according to its own political, social and civilizational models, rather than according to the patterns imposed by the West. Thus, it has become a “bone in the throat” for the United States, which should be removed at any cost. This is the real reason for the escalation on the Korean Peninsula.

Under the pretext of the “North Korean threat,” the United States is consistently building up its military activity in Northeast Asia, deploying strategic strike capabilities there, and overtly running scenarios for a hypothetical armed conflict involving the use of nuclear weapons. And since we are gathered today to discuss the item “Non-Proliferation,” I would like to ask my colleagues: how does Washington’s and Seoul’s policy to seek nuclear-conventional integration under the auspices of a specialized bilateral group correlate with their non-proliferation commitments?

Against the backdrop of the allegations of the escalation against the DPRK, there have been conducted a number of maneuvers, such as “Freedom Shield”, “Freedom Edge”, etc. It is unclear, who these exercises are designed to “liberate”. Earlier this week, a US strike group consisting of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and the AEGIS-equipped destroyers Halsey and Daniel Inouye arrived in the port of Busan again.

And what is completely unacceptable is the four-day air exercises conducted by the United States of America and the Republic of Korea involving fighter jets and an American fire support aircraft practising live firing in the skies above the Yellow Sea during the State visit to the DPRK by the President of the Russian Federation. Dear colleagues, what were you trying to demonstrate by this? That you are ready to “raise the degree” of escalation to hot? Let’s imagine that such maneuvers were carried out near the place of negotiations, for instance, of the leaders of the EU or NATO countries. How would their members interpret such moves?

Attempts to “strangle” the DPRK are not confined solely to military campaigns. Illegal Western unilateral sanctions have been in force against the DPRK for many years, preventing the supply of food, medicine and other essentials to the country, and thus worsening the situation of ordinary people. All this is justified by hypocritical claims of concern for the rights of the North Korean people.

What is raising more and more questions is the Security Council sanctions. We have repeatedly called for a meaningful conversation about their effectiveness and the impact they have on the humanitarian situation in the country. Over the years, one hardline decision has been followed by another, without contributing to political dialog, and, as a result, the entire sanctions structure has become paralyzed. In no way can sanctions facilitate the achievement of the goals stated, it is evident. A failure to recognize this means bending the truth.

Once again, we proposed to our Council colleagues to start a serious conversation on this issue, and we submitted the relevant draft resolution. However, we have been rebuffed again. For Western countries and their satellites, the sanctions toolkit of the United Nations Security Council is not a way of solving complex problems in the field of international peace and security within the framework outlined in the Charter of the United Nations, but another “truncheon” with which they hope to kill an unwelcome opponent.

Instead of constructive discussion, Western delegations have “put on stream” the convening of open meetings of the UN Security Council to smear the North Korean authorities. Against this background, any calls by Washington for dialog with Pyongyang look frankly hypocritical and ridiculous.

The bullheaded, reckless actions of the anti-Pyongyang “bloc” are bringing the situation in the region to a dangerous line. The DPRK’s opponents are literally obsessed with a destructive agenda against Pyongyang and they are sending clear messages that nothing can stop them. Under these circumstances, Russia cannot but react to the aggravation of the situation at our eastern borders.

The policy of “extended deterrence” that the United States is implementing in the region poses a real threat not only to the DPRK but also to our country. The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Treaty between the Russian Federation and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, concluded on 19 June, is intended to play a stabilizing role in North-East Asia against the background of an unprecedented escalation of tension. It should make a positive contribution to maintaining the balance of power in the region on the basis of the principle of the indivisibility of security, reduce the risk of relapsing into war on the peninsula, including with the use of nuclear weapons, and become one of the elements of a robust security architecture in the region.

We emphasize that Article 4 of the Treaty provides for mutual military assistance only in the event of an armed attack against one of the parties. This agreement should not cause national security concerns among those countries that are not planning military aggression against the DPRK. The violent, literally hysterical reaction of the West suggests that it is precisely such plans that have been thwarted by the conclusion of the Treaty.

So now they have nothing left but to speculate about various aspects of Russia’s cooperation with the DPRK, which has always been carried out in full compliance with our international obligations. Our cooperation with Pyongyang is of an exclusively constructive and legitimate nature and, it is of crucial importance that it does not threaten anyone, unlike the militaristic activities of the United States and its allies.

Those who the sly anti-DPRK activists have tried to convince otherwise can see for themselves what we are saying by reading the treaty. It is publicly available. It fully complies with the UN Charter, the norms of international law and the practice of international relations. After all, the UN Charter, including Article 51, is the same for everyone.

As for speculation about Russia’s use of North Korean missiles in the special military operation in Ukraine, it does not correspond to reality. The so-called “inspection report” on this issue, provided by sanctions experts is a textbook example of a commissioned paper that was compiled by non-professionals with numerous procedural violations and logical discrepancies, and the fragments of unidentified missiles were kindly provided by the Kyiv regime to the so-called “experts”, among whom there were no professionals in the field of ballistics. The report of these “experts” includes no confirmation of the authenticity of the missile fragments. The composition of the group is no less revealing: of the seven experts, there were only three who traveled to Ukraine. They are representatives of Great Britain, the Republic of Korea and Japan. Is this not a clue to you?

Some members of the expert group tried to rubber-stamp their speculations based on information from biased sources, including the United States authorities and the media controlled by them, in line with the “highly likely” thesis favoured by the West. Therefore, speaking of the report prepared by the three “experts”, it is not the report of the Panel of Experts of the 1718 Sanctions Committee, as they have tried to present it today. The Panel of Experts has deservedly disappeared into oblivion, where it belongs.

Because of their aggressive, hegemonic ambitions, the leadership of Western countries has completely destroyed the established security architecture in Europe. And having lost any vestiges of common sense, continues to add “fuel to the flames” of the Ukrainian conflict, pushing Europe to the brink of a new big war and violating their own numerous commitments in the field of arms exports.

It seems that this is not enough for you, and you persistently want to ignite a hot conflict in Northeast Asia as well. We can hardly interpret your confrontational actions and bellicose rhetoric against the DPRK and the countries that support it in any other way. Your efforts have kept the diplomatic process at a dead end for many years, and all constructive peace initiatives have been paralyzed.

We call on the United States and its allies to return to the track of professional, responsible and pragmatic diplomacy. Primarily we urge them to implement the Council’s resolutions, which provide for the resolution of existing problems on the Korean peninsula by political and diplomatic means without threats of force and attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of States. It seems that those countries have forgotten about that. They are fixated on the sanctions regime. Moreover, they unconditionally rejected the humanitarian resolution on the DPRK proposed by China and Russia.

Everyone can see the serious problems the Security Council is experiencing in implementing the resolutions it has adopted, especially those that imply any kind of constructive approach. Today, our Western colleagues are accusing Russia of violating these resolutions, preferring not to mention their own record. We could read it at length. But today let us cite the example of resolution 2202 containing the Minsk Package of Measures, the implementation of which the West cynically sabotaged, later admitting it through the mouths of A. Merkel, F. Hollande and P. Poroshenko, and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, who stated the non-binding nature of the Council’s resolution on Gaza.

Should you be the ones to lecture others?

Thank you for your attention.

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