28 April 2017 - North Korea: the goal can only be denuclearization [fr]
North Korea - Statement by Mr François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 28 April 2017
I would like to thank the United States presidency of the Security Council for having taken the initiative of convening this important meeting. I extend a warm welcome to the Secretary of State of the United States, Mr. Rex Tillerson, and to the Secretary-General.
I have the honour of delivering a statement from the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault, who was held up at a conference in Europe and could not be here with us today in New York.
“France is particularly concerned over North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme, which fuels the greatly heightened tensions in the Korean peninsula and constitutes one of the primary threats to international peace and security today.
Methodically pursuing that path — initiated at highest level of power — over the course of several years with a view to obtaining an operational nuclear arsenal, North Korea has flouted all of the Council’s prohibitions and ignored the repeated demands of the entire international community to desist from doing so. We are seeing the constant and rapid advancement of North Korea’s proliferation programmes, which is bringing it ever closer to reaching operational capacity. That situation is unacceptable.
France has systematically and firmly condemned each act carried out and has called on North Korea to abandon its attempts to develop a nuclear weapon. We once again make that appeal. This headlong rush forward cannot continue. It feeds a dangerous and provocative downward spiral and is an ongoing threat to the non-proliferation regime. That is why we must react to all such activities and recall the norm of the non-proliferation regime in order to avoid sending a message of impunity to States that would be tempted to follow the same irresponsible and provocative strategy.
We are also concerned about the re-emergence of chemical weapons in the region, the 13 February attack in Malaysia should alert us to a global context of chemical weapons resurfacing and to Syria’s continuous and repeated violations of the ban on the use of such weapons.
Let us be clear — the goal of North Korea is to become a nuclear-weapon State and to shake up strategic balances in the Far East and the entire world by directly threatening the security of all. Tomorrow, all countries could be in range of North Korean missiles. We must all be cognizant of the urgency of the situation. We must meet our responsibilities as members of the Security Council and show our determination to combatting those unjustifiable acts.
We also recall that the development of nuclear and ballistic programmes is being carried out at the expense of the people of North Korea, who are victims of grave violations of human rights and 70 per cent of whom suffer from food insecurity. Those systematic and severe violations are the expression of utter totalitarianism, where the arbitrary use of power prevails systematically over the rule of law. The world cannot remain complacent with regard to that situation, which flies in the face of everything we have patiently worked to build, especially here at the United Nations.
Confronted with such a challenge, the commitment of the international community and the Security Council must be firm, clear and visible. Our objective must be the total denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
The Council has taken bold action in response to the irresponsible actions of Pyongyang by condemning nuclear tests and ballistic missile tests, and it has imposed an extensive and coherent sanctions regime. Those measures have been bolstered following each nuclear test and, on two occasions in 2016, resulted in resolutions 2270 and 2321. France, which contributed to their adoption, welcomed those resolutions. As with the case of Iran, the sanctions are certainly not a goal in and of themselves, but rather one of the means to make North Korea see reason and accept the denuclearization of the peninsula.
However, we regret the uneven implementation of those sanctions, which significantly undermines the effectiveness of the actions of the international community. France calls on all States without exception to ensure the rigorous and unconditional implementation of Council decisions by all actors, pursuant to the Charter of the United Nations. I am well aware of the technical and practical obstacles to their implementation, and it is up to the Council to continue to provide assistance in that regard to countries to countries that need it.
In the face of North Korea’s persistent proliferation efforts and the growing danger it poses to peace and security, our position must be resolute and clear.
If Pyongyang continues its provocations, the international community and the Security Council must be ready to adopt new measures. North Korea must be aware that the pursuit of its nuclear programme and the carrying out of additional tests will be met with strong action, namely through the imposition of new sanctions, while its citizens continue to be victims of its leaders.
But our action cannot be merely reactionary. We must be proactive and act urgently before North Korea obtains an operational nuclear weapon. The international community must jointly and immediately coordinate efforts to bring greater diplomatic and economic pressure to bear upon North Korea in order for it to abandon its proliferation activities.The resumption of talks in order to reach a negotiated solution is also important, but requires that North Korea first make a good will commitment to them and abandon its nuclear objectives.
France, as a permanent member of the Security Council and the European Union, is fully committed to ensuring that the United Nations and Europe respond appropriately to this unacceptable threat to international peace and security.”