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CONFERENCE ON DISARMAMENT OPENS SECOND PART OF ITS 2017 SESSION

Many Delegations Condemn the 14 May Missile Launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
16 May 2017

The Conference on Disarmament this morning opened the second part of its 2017 session, hearing many speakers condemn the 14 May Missile Launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Ambassador Coly Seck, Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations Office at Geneva and President of the Conference, informed of the request by Angola to participate in the work of the Conference as an observer State, which the Conference then approved.

Ambassador Htin Lynn, Permanent Representative of Myanmar and Chair of the Working Group on the Way Forward, informed that he would be presenting details of his draft proposal to regional groups in the coming days.

Pakistan said that seeking pseudo-progress in limited-membership groups outside of the Conference would not lead to a breakthrough. Malta, speaking on behalf of the European Union, strongly condemned the latest ballistic missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. France informed that it had published a national assessment on the 4 April chemical attack in Syria. Austria opined that the case of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea once again showed the necessity to pursue a world free of nuclear weapons. Argentina stressed the importance of the verification of nuclear disarmament, while the primary responsibility for nuclear disarmament lay with nuclear-weapon States.

The United States reiterated that it would not recognize “North Korea” as a nuclear-weapon State, while its commitment to the defence of Japan and “South Korea” remained iron-clad. Belgium called upon the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to put an end to its nuclear programme in an irreversible way. New Zealand shared the concerns over the missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which threatened regional and international security and stability. The Republic of Korea called upon the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to cease all forms of provocation and return to the negotiating table. Germany stressed that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had to stop its illegal nuclear and ballistic programmes.

Italy said that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea needed to abandon the road taken toward self-isolation and its continued challenge to the international community. Japan said that the missile launches contributed a grave and increasing threat not only to Japan, but also to regional and international peace and security. Canada condemned the latest missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which violated numerous Security Council resolutions. Spain said it had pronounced its condemnation of the missile launch with 61 other countries at the recent Non-Proliferation Treaty meeting in Vienna. The Netherlands asked the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to re-engage in a meaningful dialogue with the international community.

China stated that the present situation on the Korean Peninsula was complicated, and all parties ought to exercise restraint. Norway believed that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea needed to demonstrate genuine commitment to finding a political solution to the crisis. Poland asked the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea authorities to respect the country’s international commitments. Turkey noted that the missile launch constituted a violation of Security Council resolutions. Finland condemned the latest launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which was another serious violation of the country’s international obligations. Bulgaria strongly called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to suspend its nuclear and ballistic programmes in a complete and verifiable manner.

Israel condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s provocations in violation of Security Council resolutions. Sweden said that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ought to come in line with its international obligations. Syria, referring to the statement by France, said that when someone referred to the intelligence report of a country in this international multilateral forum as though it was a reference, this was misleading. Switzerland called upon the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to abandon its ballistic missile programmes and resume its international obligations. Ireland stated that an achievement of a world without nuclear weapons had been the driving force of Ireland’s foreign policy for the past 60 years. The Russian Federation said that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula would not be possible without normalizing the overall military and political situation and promoting an atmosphere of trust.

Australia said that Pyongyang’s provocative behaviour was unacceptable, while there was a pressing need to improve the situation of the country’s impoverished people. The United Kingdom stressed that Syria’s words on multilateralism were empty; the country should not use chemical weapons against its own people. Hungary called for even closer international cooperation to stop “North Korea’s” nuclear and ballistic missile programme.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea rejected all groundless accusations made against it. All military steps taken by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were taken in the context of self-defence against threats by the United States and its followers

The Conference will next hold a public plenary on Tuesday, 23 May at 10 a.m.

Statements

COLY SECK, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Senegal and President of the Conference, welcomed the new Permanent Representative of Pakistan, and informed that Angola, a non-Member State of the Conference, had requested to participate in its work. The Conference then agreed to accept Angola as an observer State.

Pakistan stressed that the Conference was the vital and indispensable organ of the United Nations disarmament machinery. Pakistan was committed to the Conference’s effective functioning and finding truly sustainable solutions. It was only through adherence to cardinal principles of undivided security for all States that common goals could be achieved. The continued quest for global and regional hegemony, however, was raising tensions and fuelling instability. A multilateral forum where all States were supposed to cooperate on achieving a nuclear-free world was falling victim to the prevailing strategic reality. Pakistan did not blame the Conference’s working methods for its failures. Pakistan understood the frustration stemming from the lack of progress in the Conference, but a solution did not lie in abandoning the Conference and ignoring the concerns of some States. Seeking pseudo-progress in limited-membership groups outside of the Conference would not lead to a breakthrough. Pakistan supported negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention in the Conference, which would lead to indivisible security for all. Pakistan also supported negotiations on negative security assurances, as well as talks on the prevention of an arms race in outer space. A treaty ignoring asymmetries on current fissile material stocks, which would freeze the status quo, would be discriminatory; Pakistan thus supported a fissile material treaty which covered the existing stocks. In the absence of consensus on the commencement of negotiations, time in the Conference could be constructively used for structured, substantive discussions. Various subgroups could engage in such discussions, with the aim of forging consensus on commencing negotiations under a balanced and comprehensive programme of work. Finally, Pakistan found it regrettable that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had once again ignored various Security Council resolutions. The country was called to return to negotiations.

Malta, speaking on behalf of the European Union, strongly condemned the latest ballistic missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which seriously violated multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions. The European Union urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to immediately comply with its international obligations; it had to stop all nuclear tests and halt all launches using ballistic missile technology. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was also called on to engage in a credible and meaningful dialogue with the international community, and the European Union was ready to support such a process for dialogue.

France said that France and “South Korea” had submitted a statement on the nuclear and ballistic missile programme of “North Korea” supported by 62 other States, which recalled international obligations to reinforce sanctions against the country. France supported the strong mobilization of States parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty to reinforce the non-proliferation regime. The Korean Peninsula ought to be made a nuclear-free zone. France informed that it had published a national assessment on the 4 April chemical attack in Syria; all members of the Conference were invited to take note of that document.

Austria strongly condemned the latest ballistic missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, yet another serious violation of various Security Council resolutions. Such constant breaches of international law were not acceptable. The actions taken by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea aggravated tensions at both regional and global levels. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was called upon to put an end to its nuclear and missile programmes. The case of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea once again showed the necessity to pursue a world free of nuclear weapons.

Argentina believed that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty continued to be the cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime. The safeguard system established by the Treaty was emphasized, while the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful aims was widely recognized. Argentina also stressed the importance of the verification of nuclear disarmament, while the primary responsibility for nuclear disarmament lay with nuclear-weapon States. The Non-Proliferation Treaty review process was to be seen as a complimentary mechanism to the work done by the Conference. Argentina also firmly condemned the launch of the ballistic missile carried out by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which was a new act of hostility towards the international community.

United States strongly condemned the latest ballistic missile test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in violation of many Security Council resolutions, and which was another example of the defiance of the “North Korean” regime. The latest destabilizing act should serve as a call to all nations to impose a stricter sanction regime. “North Korea” had to be held to account. The United States would not recognize “North Korea” as a nuclear-weapon State, while its commitment to the defence of Japan and “South Korea” remained iron-clad.

Belgium strongly condemned the latest missile launch, and believed that the pursuit of nuclear weapons continued to threaten international peace and security. Belgium once again called upon the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to put an end to its nuclear programme in an irreversible way. The international community was encouraged to implement relevant Security Council resolutions, all with the goal of reaching a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons.

New Zealand shared the concerns already expressed over the missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which threatened regional and international security and stability. The country was called upon to abstain from any such actions, and to re-engage in a meaningful dialogue with the international community. New Zealand would continue to address that issue with its regional and international partners, including through the application of Security Council sanctions.

Republic of Korea said that the missile launch, the seventh such provocation in 2017, was a serious blow to international and regional security. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had made such a provocation immediately after the new Korean administration had taken office. The resolve of the Republic of Korea’s Government should not be put to test. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was called upon to cease all forms of provocation and return to the negotiating table.

Germany condemned in the strongest possible terms the latest ballistic missile launch. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had to stop its illegal nuclear and ballistic programmes. Germany called upon it to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the international community.

Italy stated that the latest test constituted another violation of multiple existing United Nations Security Council resolutions. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea needed to abandon the road taken towards self-isolation and its continued challenge to the international community. Italy would continue to contribute to a firm and cohesive response of the international community, also in its current capacity as Chair of the Security Council resolution 1718 Committee.

Japan said that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had launched another ballistic missile, which was totally unacceptable. It contributed a grave and increasing threat not only to Japan, but also to regional and international peace and security. It was imperative to revitalize the work of the Conference on Disarmament, which should play a central role in nuclear disarmament. Japan remained ready to actively contribute to the deliberations of the Working Group on the Way Forward.

Canada condemned the latest missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which violated numerous Security Council resolutions. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was called upon to respect its international obligations.

Spain firmly and roundly condemned the 14 May missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which was a flagrant violation of many Security Council resolutions. Spain had pronounced its condemnations with 61 other countries at the recent Non-Proliferation Treaty meeting in Vienna.

Netherlands said that it needed to be ensured that the Conference would once again become the central piece of the disarmament machinery. The Netherlands thanked Myanmar for the work done within the Working Group for the Way Forward. The Netherlands strongly condemned the recent launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which severely threatened peace and security in the region. The country was asked to re-engage in a meaningful dialogue with the international community. The international community needed to take a united and decisive action.

China stated that the establishment of the Working Group on the Way Ahead was an important part of the first segment of the Conference 2017 session. The Ambassador of Myanmar had so far conducted extensive consultations, for which China was appreciative. With regard to the launch of the missiles by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, China said that relevant Security Council resolutions contained clear provisions in that regard. The present situation on the Korean Peninsula was complicated, and all parties ought to exercise restraint.

Norway joined others in strongly condemning the latest tests by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s actions and rhetoric presented a clear challenge to the non-proliferation regime. Norway was alarmed by the country’s disregard of Security Council resolutions. It needed to demonstrate genuine commitment to finding a political solution to the crisis.

Poland condemned the most recent ballistic missile launch carried out by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which posed a threat to peace and security in the region. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea authorities were asked to respect the country’s international commitments. They were urged to return to dialogue and conduct a peaceful foreign policy.

Turkey noted that the missile launch constituted a violation of Security Council resolutions. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should use this as an opportunity for political talks.

Finland condemned the latest launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which was another serious violation of the country’s international obligations. In a statement in Vienna the previous week, more than 60 States had condemned the behaviour of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which should cooperate with the international community.

Bulgaria condemned the latest ballistic missile launch, which posed a direct threat to international peace and security. Bulgaria strongly called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to suspend its nuclear and ballistic programmes in a complete and verifiable manner.

Israel condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s provocations in violation of Security Council resolutions.

Sweden said that the latest missile launch was very likely to further increase tensions in the region. It constituted a threat to international peace and security. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ought to come in line with its international obligations. The country was strongly encouraged to take the path of negotiations.

Syria referred to the statement by France regarding a report by French intelligence, which referred to Syria. The Conference on Disarmament needed to use real, multilateral reference points, so it was surprising that attention was being drawn to a report made by an intelligence agency of a certain country. The least thing that could be said about the experience of the international community with countries’ intelligence reports was that it was bad. In 2003, former Secretary of State of the United States, Collin Powell, had spoken in the Security Council about United States intelligence reports on the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and later apologized and said that he had been misled. This incidence had shown that such intelligence reports were misleading, and that when a country spoke about reports prepared by its intelligence apparatus, this reflected the policies of that country. France’s position towards Syria was clearly hostile. Syria would have expected that the international community would learn from the Iraqi experience so that it did not use the intelligence reports of a country as a reference. The presence of France in Syria, as was the presence of any other country in Syria without the approval of its Government, was an attack. So the reference being used in this report lacked legitimacy and violated the United Nations Charter. When someone referred to the intelligence report of a country in this international multilateral forum as though it was a reference, this was misleading.

Switzerland firmly condemned the missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which violated very many United Nations Security Council resolutions and ran counter to the efforts made by the international community on non-proliferation. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was called upon to abandon its ballistic missile programmes and to resume its international obligations. Switzerland called upon all States to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Ireland expressed condemnation of the latest missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The achievement of a world without nuclear weapons had been the driving force of Ireland’s foreign policy for the past 60 years. Each test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea fuelled insecurity in the region and the wider world. All diplomatic muscle had to be used to persuade the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to cease such tests and re-engage in a credible and meaningful dialogue with the international community.

Russian Federation observed with alarm dangerous developments on the Korean Peninsula, and joined condemnations of the missile launch by Pyongyang. Subjecting maritime and aviation presences in the region to such uncalculated risk and exposing civilians to such risk was unacceptable. Russia supported the relevant Security Council resolutions on this issue. In the present circumstances, all parties involved had to observe restraint and should not undertake any steps which could lead to an escalation of tensions. Denuclearization of the peninsula would not be possible without normalizing the general military and political situation, refraining from reinforcing military infrastructure, reducing the scale of military manoeuvers, and promoting an atmosphere of trust. There was no alternative to a political settlement though the six-party process.

Australia condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s test of 14 May, which was a clear breach of Security Council resolutions and a threat to peace and security worldwide. Its provocative behaviour was unacceptable, and there was a pressing need to improve the situation of the country’s impoverished people rather than develop nuclear weapons. All countries needed to redouble their efforts to show to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that its current path was unsustainable.

United Kingdom said it would work through the Security Council to address the nuclear threat of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Syria’s words on multilateralism were empty; the country should not use chemical weapons against its own people. That fact was established not by one intelligence agency, but by an independent monitoring mechanism.

Hungary called for an even closer international cooperation to stop “North Korea’s” nuclear and ballistic missile programme.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea rejected all groundless accusations made against it. The United States was the main threat to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. The United States had recently conducted the largest ever military exercise, demonstrating its readiness to launch pre-emptive strikes against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. All military steps taken by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were taken in the context of self-defence against threats by the United States and its followers. Those self-defence measures should not be perceived as a threat to peace. They would continue as long as the United States continued to pose threats to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Syria stressed the need that it be respected as a United Nations Member State, and not be referred to as “regime”. The statement by the United Kingdom did not demonstrate much professionalism and restraint. Syria would like to make a right of reply in response to the statement by the regime of the United Kingdom. The British colonial darkness had colonized and discriminated against peoples and had covered the world, killing nations and peoples. Now, a representative of the British regime was talking about international legitimacy. Had the British regime respected international legitimacy when it had invaded Iraq? Throughout its history, Britain had been an example of violations of international legitimacy and the United Nations. Syria had never rejected any reports from the United Nations. One time, it had said a report needed wider investigation but it had not closed the door against cooperation with international mechanisms. Syria had been transparent and had urged an investigation by the concerned international organization to investigate the sites where chemicals had been used. The British regime had been among those who had impeded the proper functioning of the international investigative mechanism to look into the most recent chemical attack.

United States said that the Pyongyang representatives had clearly not listened to the calls made over the last two weeks, including from the meeting in Vienna. It was clear that the regime was not listening. The United States did not pose a threat to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; the greatest threat to the regime in Pyongyang was the regime itself.

Republic of Korea said that the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea called the accusations groundless, but did not explain why that was the case. Were the missile launches not a violation of Security Council resolutions? A Democratic People’s Republic of Korea representative should be familiar with Security Council resolutions and the United Nations Charter and avoid tiresome repetitions.

United Kingdom was pleased to hear that Syria accepted the findings of the joint investigative mechanism.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea asked how missile tests by other countries should be called, including the 26 April United States intercontinental missile test. The Security Council turned a blind eye to such moves; it had never taken issue with nuclear threats posed by its permanent members against other countries. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would speed up its current programmes unless the threat posed to it by the United States was withdrawn. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea did not recognize any Security Council resolutions targeting it.

France said that the 4 April chemical attack in Syria had killed over 80 civilians. A French inquiry had been conducted with the greatest possible care. It was up to the international community as a whole to preserve the non-proliferation regime of chemical weapons, which was one of the cornerstones of the international order. France would continue its efforts to preserve the existing regime.

Syria clarified that while it had not closed the door on cooperation with the joint investigative mechanism, ot did not say it accepted its conclusions. There was a need to collect more evidence and ensure more in-depth investigations. So he did not know how the British representative reached his conclusion. In response to France, Syria said it had acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention. It had stressed the need to destroy the stockpiles outside of Syria, to avoid any doubts that any chemicals were still present on Syrian territory and were being used. Syria had always been a proponent of the region being clear of weapons of mass destruction. Now there were incidents of the use of chemical weapons, and it had to be stressed that the victims were Syrians, which was very painful. However, the international community had to be verify information. The main sources of information had been the “White Helmets”, which the British intelligence had created and directed. Sources used by an intelligence agency were not a reference, but were used as tools to implement the policies of the country. The international community had experience with this. The Syrian Government had denied any responsibility in the chemical attack and condemned it, and had called for sending a large neutral investigative team to check what had happened.

United States stated that the threat based by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was not a bilateral but a multilateral issue, affecting international peace and security.

HTIN LYNN, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Myanmar and Chair of the Working Group on the Way Forward, said that he had conducted over 50 rounds of consultations with Member States, and had met with almost all of them. Based on his consultations, Mr. Lynn said he would be proposing to establish subgroups based on the traditional agenda items; they would have a deliberative mandate. The question of expansion kept coming up and would be dealt with in an appropriate format. In order to secure maximum possible support from the membership, Ambassador Lynn said he would be presenting details of his draft proposal to regional groups in the coming days. It was hoped that the proposal would be ready to present to the President early next week.



For use of the information media; not an official record

DC17/018E