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CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT DISCUSSES THE LATEST BALISTIC MISSILE LAUNCH BY THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA

14 February 2017

The Conference on Disarmament this morning held a plenary meeting in which numerous delegations strongly condemned the 12 February ballistic missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and asked the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to stop its ballistic and nuclear programmes and return to the six-party talks.

The following delegations took the floor: Morocco, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta (on behalf of the European Union), the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Finland, Canada, Germany, Turkey, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, China, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, France, Spain, Bulgaria, Poland, Pakistan, Ukraine, and Colombia.

Adrian Cosmin Vierita, Permanent Representative of Romania and President of the Conference, stated that, based on the feedback received on the draft decision on “The Way Forward”, he had revised the draft which was now being studied by the delegations.
The President informed that the next public plenary, to consider the revised draft, would take place on Friday, 17 February at 10 a.m.

Statements

ADRIAN COSMIN VIERITA, Permanent Representative of Romania and President of the Conference, informed that one delegation – Tajikistan – had expressed a wish to participate in the work of the Conference as a non-member State.  The Conference then decided to invite Tajikistan to participate in its work in accordance with the rules of procedure. 

The President informed that, based on the feedback received from delegation on the draft decision on “The Way Forward”, he had revised the draft on establishing a working group.  His goal was, and had always been, that all delegations had ownership of that decision.  The Working Group should have one chair through the 2017 session, who would work in coordination with the President of the Conference.  Since the delegations needed a little more time to study the proposal carefully, action on the draft would not be taken today.  A plenary meeting to discuss the revised draft would thus take place on Friday, 17 February 2017 in the morning.

Morocco supported the draft decision to create the Working Group.  That initiative provided a chance to recommence a work of substance and move the Conference from the current deadlock.  Serious political will and a collective diplomatic effort were needed.  Today’s world should be seen in the context of worsening terrorist threats and the unsuccessful end of the Non-Proliferation Treaty conference, as well as the failure to make the Middle East a zone free of nuclear weapons.  Nuclear weapons were not a guarantor of stability, either regionally or internationally.  The proliferation of terrorist activities was asking for a revised approach to global security.  The problems of the Conference were political in nature, but the adoption of a balanced programme of work was of paramount importance, and Morocco stood ready to provide a balanced contribution.  Morocco was planning to organize, in May, a peer review conference on the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons. 

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said that it was a common aspiration of peoples around the world to live in peace and security.  It was regrettable that the Conference was at a long-standing stalemate without tangible results.  The Conference was constantly manipulated by some big powers, in accordance with their self-interests.  It was hard to imagine any substantive progress until such double standards have been eliminated.  The big powers needed to agree to remove their nuclear arsenals; however, it seemed that those countries were instead improving the quality and quantity of such weapons.  On the Korean Peninsula, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was being threatened by the world’s largest nuclear State, which was conducting tests at the doorsteps of the  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  It was a legitimate right of any sovereign State to defend itself against such threats.  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was thus working on the development of self-defence capabilities, to protect itself from hostile forces.   Democratic People’s Republic of Korea rejected the recent statement by the Security Council and all of its declarations against the country.  A total elimination of nuclear weapons was a shared objective of the mankind, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Japan stressed that it was unacceptable that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
had once again conducted a missile launch on 12 February. It was not only a clear violation of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, including 2321, but also a provocation which undermined the peace and security of the region and international community, including Japan.

Republic of Korea said that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s firing of the ballistic missile constituted a violation of the Security Council resolutions and a threat to international peace and security, and was condemned in the strongest terms.  Those provocations demonstrated the unreasonable nature of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and its fanatical obsession with the pursuit of missiles and nuclear weapons, which would only strengthen the international community’s resolve for the denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. 

Malta, on behalf of the European Union, stated that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s repeated disregard of its international obligations was provocative and unacceptable.  The country had to halt all launches using ballistic missile technology and abandon, once and for all, its ballistic missile, nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, as required by the United Nations Security Council.  The latest irresponsible behavior underlined the necessity of the universalization and the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.  

United Kingdom strongly condemned the launch of a ballistic missile by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in a flagrant violation of Security Council resolutions.  The only credible way for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was to abandon such launches.  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was called upon to cease such irresponsible behavior and instead work on building future for its people.

United States said that “North Korea’s” missile launch on Sunday was highly provocative, which threatened international peace and security, defying six Security Council resolutions.  “North Korea’s” weapons programme represented a threat to security of every country in the region and beyond.  United Nations Security Council resolutions ought to be implemented without delay.  United States would hold “North Korea” accountable.  If there ever was a situation calling for a collective security action, the moment was now.   Annual joint military exercises with the Republic of Korea were transparent and designed to defend the Republic of Korea and maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula.  The exercises were conducted in line with the armistice, while the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had never informed anyone of its launches.  

Australia welcomed and supported the President’s idea of working group on the “The Way Forward”, and was ready to engage constructively on the revised draft decision on the establishment of such a group.  It was sorely needed to find a way for the Conference to cut through the current impasse so that it could start to deliver results.  Australia condemned the latest ballistic missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which represented a further threat to regional and global peace and security.  Australia stood firm with its allies and regional partners in condemning such provocative actions, and called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to cease such behavior, abandon its nuclear and missile programmes, and engage constructively with the international community.  Australia also welcomed the strong action by the United Nations Security Council in unanimously adopting resolutions 2270 and 2321.

Finland strongly condemned the missile launch of the ballistic missile by “North Korea”, which was yet another violation of international norms.  It had violated a number of Security Council resolutions, and was an indication of a serious disregard of the concerns expressed by the international community.  Finland urged “North Korea” to strictly comply with its international obligations and abandon its nuclear aspirations once and for all. 

Canada unequivocally condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s missile launch, which represented a threat to the international peace and security as a whole.  Canada called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to respect its international obligations.

Germany  condemned in the strongest terms the ballistic missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which constituted another intolerable violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s behavior would only lead to further isolation of the country.  It needed to halt all ballistic missile launches and its nuclear programme immediately.

Turkey strongly condemned that ballistic missile launch by  the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which was yet another violation of the country’s international obligations.  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was called upon to cease its ballistic missile launches and to fully comply with its international obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions.

Italy expressed great concern over the missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Such repeated missile tests constituted a threat to international peace and security.  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should abandon the road taken towards self-isolation and challenging the international community.  It was urged to return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

The Netherlands was very concerned by the ongoing nuclear missile tests by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which were destabilizing for the region and the international community as a whole.  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was called upon to re-engage in the six-party talks. 

Switzerland  said that the recent launches contravened many of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s obligations, and violated numerous Security Council resolutions, threatening international peace and security.  Switzerland reiterated its support to the six-party talks, and remained ready to respond to any requests to contribute to the efforts to promote peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

China noted the latest missile test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and was following the developments.  China was opposed to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s launch, which violated the Security Council resolutions.  Provocative moves escalated regional tensions.  China, as a permanent member of the Security Council, had always enforced the Council’s resolutions in their entirety.  In China’s view, only dialogue and conversation provided a way out.   It was hoped that relevant parties would assume their responsibility and do their due share.  The issue should be addressed within the context of the six-party talks.
Russian Federation considered the 12 February missile launch as yet another violation of the Security Council resolutions, which could be met only with regret and concern.  The current situation necessitated all parties to refrain from acts which could lead to further escalation.  The problems on the Korean Peninsula could only be resettled through diplomatic means and rejecting confrontation, and attempting to improve the general military and security situation in north-east Asia.

Kazakhstan joined the condemnation of the missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Kazakhstan, as a country which had voluntarily renounced its nuclear weapons, was convinced that such launched posed a threat to regional and global security.  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was invited to immediately return to the six-party talks.

France  condemned the ballistic missile test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and reiterated its solidarity with its allies in Asia.  France was in contact with all the concerned countries, with the view of constructing a firm and determined response which would ensure the implementation of the Security Council resolutions. 

Spain was gravely concerned over the serious breach of the Security Council resolutions.  Spain called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to abandon its ballistic missile programme in an irreversible fashion and to re-establish a meaningful dialogue with the international community.

Bulgaria said that the latest launch was yet another violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions and posed a threat to international peace and security.  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was called upon to resume dialogue with the international dialogue, including through the framework of the six-party talks.

Poland perceived the most recent test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as yet another violation of its international obligations.  It posed a threat to the security and stability of the Korean Peninsula.  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should refrain from such actions, and Poland supported all international efforts to re-engage the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Pakistan deplored missile tests by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which were in violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions.  Pakistan had consistently supported a nuclear weapons free Korean Peninsula.  A return to the six-party talks was encouraged.

Ukraine condemned the launch of the ballistic missile by “North Korea”.  Such actions were in a direct violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions, and could lead to an additional escalation of tensions and to a further aggravation of the security situation in the world.  Ukraine was a country which had willingly disbanded its military arsenal and, as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, it would contribute to the diplomatic efforts to re-establish dialogue with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Colombia had closely followed consultations by the President on the possible programme of work.   Colombia placed particular importance to achieving a negotiating mandate in the Conference.  The Conference should not shed its responsibility as a unique negotiating forum on disarmament.  Colombia urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to comply with the relevant Security Council resolutions.  Peace and security on the Korean Peninsula should be affected by such provocative actions.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea rejected all accusations by a number of delegations, which ignored the real causes of the escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was only exercising its legitimate rights of self-defence in the light of the ever-growing United States aggressive posture on the Korean Peninsula.  The double standards by the Security Council focused on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea while ignoring a number of missile tests by other States.   Security Council resolutions had no legal basis, stressed the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Attention was brought to yet another joint United States-Republic of Korea military exercise, largest thus far, which would take place in March.  United States should stop such actions, with the view of decreasing tensions on the Peninsula.  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was doubtful about the intensions of those countries criticizing it, and the Conference should return to its original mandate. As long as the Conference was abused by sinister political purposes of certain countries, results could not be expected, stressed the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Republic of Korea said that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was portraying itself fanatically, based on false obsessions and beliefs.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea noted that the Republic of Korea once again tried to portray the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as a provocateur.  It should stop lobbying other countries to put pressure on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

United States was satisfied about the wide condemnation of the ballistic missile test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  It was becoming increasingly obvious how isolated the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was. Security Council resolutions represented international law, reminded the United States.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said that it was the United States which was fanatically clinging to its hostile policies and plans to topple the socialist system of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  The country would continue to strengthen its self-defence capabilities.

Russian Federation reiterated its invitation to all participants in the Conference to take part in a thematic meeting on the topic of the commemoration of the 110th anniversary of the Second Hague Conference on Peace, which would be held in the Council Chamber on 22 February at 3 p.m.



For use of the information media; not an official record

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