Statement by the European Union at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Debate on Non-proliferation/DPRK: Agenda item 124 – Strengthening of the United Nations system: Special report of the Security Council (A/75/853) – Debate pursuant to resolution 76/262

Ambassador Olof Skoog speaks at the UN General Assembly

Must read

8 June 2022


I have the honour of speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries North Macedonia*, Montenegro* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, Andorra, Monaco and San Marino, align themselves with this statement.

We are participating in this first debate that is held pursuant to Resolution 76/262 because we believe that consideration of an issue should not end when the use of the veto has prevented the Security Council from fulfilling its primary responsibility to maintain international peace and security. Today’s debate is about upholding the multilateral system, with the UN at its core, by ensuring that this organisation is able to defend the international law that we have all agreed and condemn violations of it.

Mr President,

By launching an unprecedented number of ballistic missiles since the beginning of the year – including 8 missiles just this weekend – the DPRK has demonstrated its brazen disregard for international law and utter disrespect for the United Nations. The international community cannot sit by and allow actions that threaten the core principles of the international non-proliferation and disarmament regime and undermine the very system we are all here to uphold.

These missile tests show the DPRK’s intention to continue developing an unlawful weapons programme that threatens its neighbours, the region and beyond. This is a blatant violation of its obligations under numerous UN Security Council resolutions. Ignoring this, not taking action and not insisting that international obligations are upheld would be a direct threat to the United Nations’ ability to maintain international peace and security.

It is now more critical than ever that the international community speak and act as one.

Mr President,

The resolution that was vetoed by Russia and China in the Security Council was intended to demonstrate that violations of international law have consequences, sometimes in the form of sanctions. Let me underline that sanctions are an essential instrument at the Security Council’s disposal to maintain or restore international peace and security. They are an essential tool in convincing the DPRK to reverse its dangerous, current course of action.

Some of the speakers today will want us to believe that we are insensitive to the plight of the DPRK’s population, so let me underline: it is the regime of the DPRK that keeps its borders closed and limits humanitarian access; it is the regime of the DPRK that spends the national budget on its weapons programmes, including new intercontinental ballistic missiles, while millions of its people suffer the consequences of chronic malnutrition.

The UN sanctions against DPRK include a system of comprehensive humanitarian exemptions that can facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance. The resolution vetoed would have strengthened this system to also include exemptions for all products related to fighting the COVID19 pandemic. As the European Union, we continue to work towards ensuring the effective and meaningful implementation of those exemptions. Let me underline that since 1995, the European Union has been at the forefront of efforts to alleviate the humanitarian situation in the DPRK through the funding of independent humanitarian organisations working in the country. We stand ready to resume the assistance, but ultimately, the welfare of vulnerable communities in the DPRK rests on the policy of the regime.

Mr President,

It is our duty to limit the development of unlawful weapons systems, work toward adherence to international rules, and maintain respect for the multilateral system. This is what the vetoed resolution, as supported by 13 members of the Security Council but vetoed by Russia and China, was about. So let us focus on what is really at stake: the DPRK must cease developing weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. This is a danger to all of us. Diplomacy and peaceful dialogue is the only route to stability and peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. The DPRK must accept the hand that has been reached out to it and cease destabilising action.

Thank you.


* North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.


More articles

Latest article