North Korea [fr]

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The North Korean nuclear program

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1985, but attempted to withdraw from it in 1993 when inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) revealed suspicious activities in the country. The vast majority of the international community condemned this declaration and that year the Security Council adopted resolution 825 calling on North Korea to comply with its international commitments. Negotiations finally led to the freezing of the North Korean nuclear programme in 1994 in exchange for assistance in the field of energy.

In January 2003, the DPRK dismissed IAEA inspectors and again announced its withdrawal from the NPT, which was challenged by the international community. Pyongyang affirmed its right to develop nuclear weapons and announced it would restart nuclear facilities frozen in 1994. "Six-Party Talks" opened in Beijing in April 2003, bringing together the United States, Russia, China, Japan and the two Koreas. The Six Parties finally arrived at a joint statement in September 2005, in which North Korea committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and returning to the NPT and to IAEA safeguards in exchange for the provision of energy.

Despite this commitment, North Korea pursued its military nuclear programme. In July 2006, it fired two ballistic missiles with a range of 6,000 km, close to Japan. The Security Council responded by adopting resolution 1695 which condemned the launches of those missiles and demanded that North Korea suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile programme.

In October 2006, the DPRK announced it had carried out an underground nuclear weapons test. The Security Council once again responded immediately and adopted resolution 1718 which established a sanctions regime. These measures were aimed at combating North Korea’s proliferating activities by prohibiting, in particular, the provision of sensitive materials and encouraging the inspection of suspicious cargo. A sanctions committee known as the "UNSC 1718 Committee" and consisting of the 15 members of the Security Council was charged with ensuring the proper application of sanctions.

Despite those measures, and while the Six-Party Talks were continuing, in 2009 provocations on the part of North Korea increased with the launch of a ballistic missile in April and, above all, a second nuclear test in May. Partly on the basis of French proposals, the Security Council voted resolution 1874 which significantly strengthened sanctions by providing for a very wide embargo on weapons, systematic inspection of cargo to and from North Korea, financial restrictions and the strengthening of the UNSC 1718 Committee.

Since Kim Jong-un came to power in 2011, and despite the announcement of a moratorium on its ballistic and nuclear activities in 2012, North Korea has continued to violate its international commitments: two long-range missiles were launched in 2012, and this was followed by a third nuclear test in February 2013. In the wake of these further provocations, the Security Council decided to strengthen the sanctions regime by unanimously adopting resolutions 2087 (January 2013) and 2094 (March 2013).

The North Korean nuclear programme poses a major challenge for international peace and security and the consensus surrounding it within the Security Council well demonstrates the importance the international community attaches to this issue. In full violation of its international commitments and in defiance of security in the Korean Peninsula, the DPRK continues to launch ballistic missiles. The latest launches took place in February, April and May 2015.

France is fully engaged in the fight against nuclear and ballistic proliferation within the competent organs of the United Nations. It supports the Six-Party Talks on the resolution of the North Korean question. As a permanent member of the Security Council, France has actively participated in the drafting of successive resolutions. France’s objective, as that of the European Union, remains the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear programmes, with a view to achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Dernière modification : 18/06/2015

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