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Remarks at UN Security Council meeting on North Korea
Margot Wallström, Minister for Foreign Affairs, New York, 15 December 2017.
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The situation on the Korean Peninsula is the greatest threat to international peace and security facing the world today. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programme, illustrates a blatant disregard for its international obligations. The DPRK has repeatedly violated international law, including numerous Security Council resolutions. Its actions are also contrary to the existing global norm against nuclear testing, embodied in the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and global non-proliferation norms.
This Council has repeatedly been called together this year to address the illegal testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles by the DPRK. At each meeting, Council members have unanimously condemned these provocations in the strongest terms.
The world does not accept the DPRK's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, and it is essential that we continue to stand united.
I would like to thank you for convening today's important meeting. I particularly welcome the presence of the representatives of the Republic of Korea and of the DPRK here today. Let this meeting be a step towards dialogue.
I want to take this opportunity to convey the following five messages to the DPRK;
First, cease all provocations;
Second, engage in a credible and meaningful dialogue;
Third, abide by the Security Council's resolutions and fulfil your international obligations;
Fourth, abandon your nuclear weapons and missile programme in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner; and
Fifth, return to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the IAEA safeguards.
The adoption of resolution 2375 earlier this year toughened the targeted sanctions against the DPRK. It now constitutes the most rigorous sanctions regime ever enforced under the United Nations system.
For these sanctions to have the desired effect, it is critical that we urgently ensure their universal and comprehensive implementation. To this end, we need additional capacity at all levels, including improved monitoring and targeted capacity-building. We are actively engaged, through the European Union, in support of such efforts.
This week, the Council has held discussions on both the acute human rights situation and the precarious humanitarian conditions in the DPRK. The humanitarian situation for ordinary North Koreans remains of serious concern. The responsibility for the wellbeing of the North Korean people falls, without doubt, on the Government of the DPRK.
At the same time, it is of utmost importance that the humanitarian exemptions provided for under the sanctions regime are upheld. Reports that international humanitarian organisations' ability to provide assistance has been reduced, therefore, need to be addressed. As the Secretary General has pointed out, there is also an urgent need for more funding towards life-saving humanitarian assistance in the DPRK.
Over the last year, tensions on the Korean Peninsula have continued to rise. They have now reached a very dangerous level. Provocations have been accompanied by an increase in confrontational rhetoric. In this environment, the potential for mistakes, misunderstandings and miscalculations is high.
In parallel to effectively implementing the sanctions regime, we must undertake further work to reduce tensions, in order to advance the prospects for a comprehensive settlement. Sanctions alone will not resolve the current situation. Intensified and creative diplomatic efforts that pave the way for a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution are urgently needed.
The situation must be approached without prejudice, and we must be prepared to consider both new and previous proposals and agreements. In this regard, there is also a need to explore the possibilities for regional security cooperation and arrangements. Sweden is contributing to these diplomatic efforts. We welcome Under Secretary-General Feltman's recent visit to the DPRK.
This Council has the responsibility to uphold peace and security. There is no military solution to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. We have to exhaust every avenue for diplomacy and dialogue. Efforts are urgent. The consequences of failure would be disastrous.