Margot Wallström is no longer a government minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs
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Swedish Statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on North Korea
National statement delivered by Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on non-proliferation/Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, 27 September 2018, New York.
Thank you, Mr President,
Dear colleagues, as I believe you all vividly remember, when world leaders gathered here in New York for the General Assembly one year ago, tensions on the Korean peninsula were alarmingly high and dangerous.
Since then positive, historic progress has been made and we now have a new momentum. But substantial challenges remain, and as much as we would like it, this is neither a quick nor a simple process, and it will take time. Unity of this Council has been decisive for the progress made so far, and continued unity will be critical. Your personal engagement, Secretary Pompeo, is very important, and we thank you for that.
The Security Council has shown strong resolve regarding the situation on the Korean peninsula, adopting numerous substantial resolutions by consensus. Sweden has contributed to these efforts, including by consistently pushing for diplomatic solutions. Our resolve must now be geared towards making further progress with a two-pronged approach.
Firstly, we need to effectively implement the existing sanctions until the demands of this Council are met. There are widespread violations of the sanctions regime in a range of areas, including arms exports, petroleum trade and financial transactions. We call on all Member States to fulfil their obligations and ensure full implementation.
There is no doubt that the responsibility for the dire humanitarian situation in the DPRK fundamentally rests with its government. At the same time, there are concerns about indirect negative impact of sanctions. Enhanced efforts are therefore needed to ensure that the humanitarian exemptions are safeguarded. A generation of North Koreans must not be lost due to malnutrition and lack of medicines.
Secondly, we must continue to encourage and support diplomatic efforts. Progress in the inter-Korean dialogue is very encouraging. Important agreements, including most recently at the summit in Pyongyang last week, have been achieved.
The summit between the United States and the DPRK in Singapore in June was indeed significant. All parties must now work to maintain momentum, and build trust and confidence. A step-by-step approach is needed to achieve complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation. For the DPRK, this means translating its commitments into concrete undertakings without delay. It is important that the IAEA is given a role early in the process.
Creative diplomacy will continue to be critical. The parties should explore ways to move from the armistice towards a peace agreement. The need for regional collaborative arrangements, including on security, as we’ve heard others say here, is evident.
An international framework that deals with all different aspects and can contribute to sustainability is essential. We welcome the support of the UN Secretary-General and the UN system. My country, with its presence in Pyongyang and as a longstanding member of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission, the NNSC, will continue to assist diplomatic efforts.
The situation on the Korean peninsula has far-reaching implications for international peace and security. It is also vital for good neighbourly relations in North East Asia. Recent progress has shown that it is possible to diffuse tensions through dialogue and cooperation. This should be recognised by the Security Council, and the newfound opportunity should be seized. We must now work together and stay united towards a peaceful, prosperous and nuclear-weapons-free Korean peninsula.