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CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT DISCUSSES CURRENT RELEVANT ISSUES AND METHODS OF WORK

Hears General Statements Condemning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s Recent Launch Using Ballistic Missile Technology
9 February 2016

The Conference on Disarmament met this morning to discuss issues of relevance to the Conference.  The recent launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea using ballistic missile technology, one month after carrying out a nuclear test, was at the heart of today’s statements.  

The Netherlands on behalf of the European Union, Republic of Korea, Ireland, France, Japan, United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Italy, Canada, New Zealand, Peru, Ukraine, Mexico, Turkey, Spain, and Colombia condemned the launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which they said constituted a threat to peace and security in the region.  Speakers urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to abide by United Nations Security Council resolutions.  China expressed its regrets at the decision taken by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea regretted that the Conference on Disarmament had been turning into a highly politicized platform by certain countries vociferating groundless accusations infringing the “DPRK’s” independent and legitimate right to use outer space for peaceful proposes.  It asserted that the “DPRK” not being allowed to launch a satellite was a clear manifestation of double standards in mere pursuit of politically-motivated purposes.  The “DPRK” would never tolerate any attempt to violate the exercise of its sovereign right to peaceful development. 

Peters Emuze, Chargé d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Nigeria and President of the Conference on Disarmament, said that while consultations continued, States should strengthen efforts to putting the Conference back to work.  His intention was to establish working groups to focus on the four core agenda items.  A document containing more details on the working groups would be sent to States before the next meeting.  He had also commenced consultations to be ready with names of coordinators and a schedule for the working groups. 

The Conference on Disarmament will next meet in public on Tuesday, 16 February at 10 a.m.

General Statements

PETERS EMUZE, Chargé d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Nigeria and President of the Conference on Disarmament, opened the meeting and proposed to the Conference to invite Singapore to participate as a non-member State in the work of the Conference.  That decision was then adopted.  He invited States to raise current issues of relevance to the work of the Conference.

Netherlands, on behalf of the European Union, condemned in the strongest possible terms the launch using ballistic missile technology by the “DPRK” on 7 February 2016, which followed its alarming and illegal nuclear test on 6 January.  It represented a further serious violation of its international obligations, and a direct threat to peace and security in the region and beyond.  The “DPRK” must comply with its international obligations and abandon its programmes to develop ballistic missiles and nuclear capabilities in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. 

Republic of Korea said that it was deeply deplorable that “North Korea” had once again launched a long-range missile despite the repeated warnings and concerns raised by the international community.  It was an extreme provocation towards the international community as well as a flagrant violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.  The Republic of Korea would make every effort to push for strong sanction measures at the Security Council.

Ireland said that it was deeply dismayed at the new provocation by the “DPRK”, which demonstrated once again the urgent need for all stakeholders to engage in nuclear disarmament.  Those actions aggravated existing tensions in the Korean Peninsula, and reinforced the collective responsibility to bring the Conference on Disarmament back to work.  Ireland urged the “DPRK” to cease these activities and to engage in irreversible and transparent denuclearization. 

France condemned in the strongest terms the launch by “North Korea”, which was irresponsible and unacceptable.  France once again urged “North Korea” to comply with its international obligations, to engage in complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of its ballistic and nuclear programmes, and to refrain from aggravating tensions in the Korean Peninsula. 

Japan said that the international community had repeatedly urged the “DPRK” to comply with international law and to refrain from launching long-range missile.  The recent launch using ballistic technology was a violation of international law and against the spirit of the Six-party Talks.  The Security Council was currently undergoing consultations towards the adoption of a new resolution, and should take strong measures in response to that launch. 

United Kingdom strongly condemned the launch using ballistic missile technology by the “DPRK”, which constituted a threat to international peace and security, and hindered prospects for peace in the Korean Peninsula.  The “DPRK’s” continued provocation would not be tolerated, and significant measures should be developed by the United Nations Security Council in response. 

United States said that “North Korea’s” launch using ballistic technology represented a threat to the peace and  security of its allies and hindered peace and security in the Korean Peninsula.  The United States would take all necessary steps to defend itself and its allies in the region.  It called upon the international community to stand together to make “North Korea” comply with its international obligations. 

Australia said that “North Korea’s” new provocation further aggravated tensions in the Korean Peninsula, and threatened Australia’s friends in the region: the Republic of Korea, Japan and China.  The  launch was in breach of “North Korea’s” international obligations.  Australia would support efforts to strengthen the implementation of measures aimed at ensuring “North Korea’s” compliance with international obligations. 

Italy strongly condemned the new violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions by the “DPRK”, and urged the “DPRK” to abandon its nuclear programme and to return to the NPT and IAEA Safeguards at an early date as well as to sign and ratify the CTBT.

Canada condemned the launch by “North Korea” of a missile using ballistic technology, which constituted a threat to security in the region and a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.  Canada urged “North Korea” to comply with its international law obligations. 

New Zealand joined others in condemning “North Korea’s” irresponsible decision to carry out that launch, in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.  Such an attitude undermined peace and security in the region.  New Zealand would work with its partners to ensure that the Security Council adopted a strong response to that provocation. 

Peru condemned the “DPRK’s” launch using ballistic missile technology, and encouraged the resumption of the Six-party Talks for the denuclearization of the region. 

China said that it was very reluctant to hold this meeting during the Chinese New Year.  China noted “DPRK’s” declaration that it had successfully launched the satellite, and noted the reaction of the international community.  China had said that “DPRK” had the right to make peaceful use of outer space, but that right was currently subject to restrictions of the United Nations Security Council resolutions.  China regretted that the “DPRK” went ahead with this launch despite the wishes of the international community.  Under the current circumstances, the present challenge was how to move ahead with the process of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and how to safeguard peace and stability on the Peninsula.  The current situation now was the leftover of the Cold War and the result of policies of some countries aiming at regime change in other countries.  Ten years ago agreement had been reached between “DPRK” and other countries on developing its nuclear capabilities , but that was scraped by some countries unilaterally.  China, as the Chair of the Six-party Talks, had made genuine efforts towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.  During the stalemate of the Six-party Talks, “DPRK” had started nuclear tests and had conducted them, thus slapping the relevant country across the face.  As a neighbour, China would by no means allow war or instability on the Korean Peninsula and would not allow any country to pursue its selfish gains.  China was concerned that some countries were trying to take advantage of this situation and wanted to deploy missile defence systems that would be able to shoot down satellites in outer space.  China hoped that countries took a responsible attitude as such a move would result in the escalation of tensions.  China was committed to realizing denuclearization and resolving the issue through dialogue. 

Ukraine strongly condemned the unacceptable and provocative launch by the “DPRK”, which was a disguised ballistic technology test in violation of international law and United Nations Security Council resolutions.  It had aggravated the situation in the Korean Peninsula and threated peace and security in the region.  Ukraine would continue to work closely with its partners to address that situation. 

Mexico expressed grave concern at the “DPRK’s” decision to launch a missile using ballistic technology.  It restated the fact that the “DPRK” was compelled by United Nations Security Council resolutions to suspend such activities and to end its threats to peace and security in the region.  Mexico supported a prompt renewal of the Six-party talks towards denuclearization.

Turkey strongly condemned the irresponsible launch by “North Korea”, in total disregard of its international obligations.  Turkey underlined the importance of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and encouraged the renewal of the Six-party Talks to this effect. 

Spain condemned  the launch by the “DPRK”.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea spoke in a right of reply in response to fact-falsifying accusations and irresponsible allegations concerning its successful launch of an earth observation satellite on 7 February 2016.  It pointed out that  that the Conference on Disarmament had been turning into a highly politicized platform where  certain countries tried to justify their unjustifiable logic and vociferated  groundless accusations infringing upon the independent right of a dignified United Nations Member State. The “DPRK” launched the newly developed earth observation satellite into orbit according to the 2016 plan of the 5-year program for national aerospace development in line with its policy for the peaceful development and use of space.  The “DPRK” had notified relevant international organizations of its launch in accordance with international regulations and procedures, in order to ensure transparency.  The “DPRK” satellite launch was an exercise of an independent and legitimate right which fully conformed to the universally agreed international laws on peaceful use of space. It was United Nations Security Council sanctions, forcibly fabricated by the United States, which denied and restrained the legitimate right of a sovereign State.  The “DPRK” not being allowed to launch a satellite was a clear manifestation of double standards in mere pursuit of politically-motivated purposes.  The “DPRK” would never tolerate any attempt to violate the exercise of its sovereign right to peaceful development. 

United States, in a right of reply, referring to a comment made by China about the “DPRK” actions being a slap in the face of a country, said that in fact it was an affront to the international community for this activity to take place.  The United States was not a threat to the “DPRK”.  “DPRK” insisted that United Nations Security Council resolutions did not matter, but they were international law, supported by many in the international community, including China.  It was refreshing to hear China in essence condemn “DPRK’s” acts and the United States hoped that this condemnation would translate into support for much tougher sanctions in the Security Council against “DPRK”.

Colombia condemned the launch by the “DPRK”, which threatened international peace and security, and referred to the press release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia  It urged that country to end such actions, which aggravated tensions in the Korean Peninsula. 

Russian Federation, while respecting the right of all delegations to raise any issues that they deem relevant,  wondered how that discussion brought the Conference any closer to adopting a programme of work and resuming negotiations. It referred to the relevant statement made by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in response to the recent launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which was available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs  of the Russian Federation. 

Republic of Korea, in a right of reply, said that the United Nations Security Council had clearly prohibited any launch by the “DPRK” using ballistic technology.  The “DPRK” was, according to the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, bound by Security Council resolutions. 

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking in a second right of reply, reiterated once again that it had the right to peacefully use outer space for economic and scientific development.  The “DPRK” would never give up its rights as a sovereign State.  The more pressure, the more reactions, it concluded.  Threats had to end, or they would face another Armageddon. 

Programme of Work

PETERS EMUZE, Chargé d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Nigeria and President of the Conference on Disarmament, said that while consultations continued, States should strengthen efforts to put the Conference back to work.  The President said his intention was to establish working groups on the four core agenda items.  A document containing more details on the working groups would be sent to States before the next meeting.  He had also commenced consultations to be ready with names of coordinators and a schedule for the working groups. 


For use of the information media; not an official record

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