North Korea continues to develop nuclear and ballistic capabilities [fr]
Statement by Mr Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 11 December 2019
The Security Council has been working for years on the North Korean nuclear issue and, for years, the threat has continued to increase and worsen. The risks are not only real and empirical, but also extremely high and growing. As we meet here, the nuclear programme continues to advance and fissile material continues to be produced.We fully share the concern voiced with regard to North Korean provocations, in particular the 13 incidents in which some 20 ballistic missiles have been launched over the past months. Those launches demonstrate North Korea’s willingness to develop its missile arsenal. They violate our decisions, which clearly prohibit North Korea from using ballistic technologies.
They undermine regional stability and security and international peace and security. They erode our trust and make us doubt the sincerity of the regime’s willingness to negotiate.North Korea has continued to develop its nuclear and ballistic capabilities. Despite what we may have heard, it has decidedly taken no measures in the opposite direction. Sites linked to its illegal programmes remain operational and active. The test on 7 December shows not only that the regime plans to continue its provocations in violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions, but also that it is not respecting its own commitments, as Kim Jong Un had previously announced that the Tongchang-ri site, where that test took place, would be dismantled, at the inter-Korean summit held in Pyongyang in September 2018.In that regard, we must remain both sober and vigilant with regard to the situation. Our approach to the issue must be firm, clear and unambiguous. I recall that the strict and full implementation of the decisions of the Security Council and, through it, of the international community, is a collective obligation. It must be self-evident to us all.
The regime has methodically pursued its efforts to circumvent the sanctions and avoid the consequences of disregarding our decisions, whether concerning the presence of workers sent by the regime abroad or the illegal shipments of petroleum products and coal. The Panel of Experts regularly reports to us on its findings involving the many violations observed. Sanctions are not a goal in and of themselves. They serve our common goal of achieving the denuclearization of North Korea. The situation does not justify lifting them or scaling down their level of implementation. We must also be prepared to respond firmly to any challenge to our decisions and authority by the North Korean regime. North Korea is undergoing a dire humanitarian crisis. The sanctions imposed by the Council include exemptions with regard to the latter, and they are being applied. But it must be made very clear that responsibility for the humanitarian crisis falls squarely on the regime. Instead of devoting the major part of its resources to the development of nuclear and ballistic-missile programmes and threatening international peace and security, the Pyongyang authorities should feed their people. The door to dialogue with Pyongyang remains open. We are extending a hand. We support and welcome the efforts made by the United States over the past two years to initiate negotiations. What we now expect are concrete gestures of commitment from North Korea, which must refrain from any provocations. It should comply with the relevant Security Council resolutions and embark swiftly and in good faith on a process of complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization. That is the only possible way to achieve a political solution and lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.