North Korea: it is necessary to fully and strictly implement the sanctions [fr]
Speech by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 17 September 2018
I thank the United States presidency for convening this important meeting on the North Korean issue, which has occupied the Security Council for many years. I also thank the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Ms. Rosemary DiCarlo, for her very enlightening briefing. I also welcome the Permanent Representatives of the Republic of Korea and Japan.
I would like to make three remarks today on the context, the approach that should guide us and the ultimate objective of denuclearizing the North Korean peninsula, on which we should all come together.Developments in recent months have contributed to an easing of tensions. The intensification of exchanges among all parties and the relaunch of the inter-Korean dialogue are important and encouraging steps. But let us be clear — we are still awaiting the signs of concrete commitment on the part of the North Korean regime concerning the denuclearization of the peninsula. The International Atomic Energy Agency told us last month that North Korea was pursuing its nuclear programme.
It is well known that Pyongyang continues to violate and circumvent sanctions on a larger scale and in an increasingly diversified and sophisticated way. It is also well known that Pyongyang is doing that by exploiting the shortcomings of the system and the gaps in the arrangements made by certain States, and in some cases their lack of will. It is not only a question of sanctions in the area of petrol; all sanctions are involved, from coal to the financial sector.
The report of the Panel of Experts (S/2018/171, annex), which we were able to consider in the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006), has confirmed that to us once again. The report also indicates that Pyongyang is pursuing its nuclear and ballistic programmes, in violation of Council resolutions. That observation tells us that there is still a considerable way to go and that we must remain collectively vigilant to the highest degree. That is why the call for unity and resolve that has guided us so far must continue to prevail now more than ever. That requirement should entail three areas of focus in particular.
First, we need the strict, full and simultaneous implementation of the sanctions. We believe that such implementation is more essential than ever to preserve our indispensable leverage over Pyongyang with respect to serious negotiations on the denuclearization of the peninsula. That is the strategy we have defined together, and each of us must stick to it rigorously. Sanctions are not an à la carte menu from which everyone can pick and choose according to their wishes and preferences.
Turning to the second area of focus, we need rigorous monitoring of the actions taken by North Korea through the Committee and the experts who support it. In that respect, I wish to assure them and the Dutch chairmanship of the Committee of our full support. The Committee and the corresponding Panel of Experts are the most effective means of providing impartial information and of encouraging all States to comply strictly with their obligations. Their publicly available reports are also an essential tool for verifying the implementation of sanctions and for deterring anyone, including North Korea, from engaging in activities that would undermine the sanctions.
In that regard, France regrets the obstructions to the Panel’s latest report. It is essential that expert panel reports be published without interference. Let us be
clear. The professionalism and the quality of the work of the experts are measured neither by our satisfaction with their content nor by the a posteriori consideration of our views. The independence and integrity of the panels of experts are the DNA of sanction regimes, and there can be no question of altering or manipulating
them. I wish to stress here France’s extreme vigilance against any attempt at manipulation.
Turning to the third area of focus, we must be ready to toughen sanctions if necessary. They remain the best tool at our disposal to maintain the necessary pressure and send a signal of resolve to the regime. That is why we fully support United States efforts in that respect.
In conclusion, denuclearization discussions must clearly continue, but certainly not at the cost of relaxing our efforts. It is up to the North Korean regime to demonstrate through concrete gestures that it is sincerely ready to commit to the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the peninsula.
That must remain more than ever our common goal. France remains resolutely committed to its partners in that respect, both here and in the framework of the European Union. I call on the members of the Council to remain united in achieving this essential goal for international peace and security. It is my hope that the General Assembly will help us to move in that direction
together at its next session.