North Korea: we do not close the door to dialogue [fr]
North Korea - Speech by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 29 November 2017
"After this latest launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile yesterday, North Korea has resumed its irresponsible race towards escalation." Ambassador François Delattre
I would first like to thank Under-Secretary-General Feltman for his briefing. I also thank you, Mr. President, for your work as Chair of the Committee pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006) and for your exemplary energy and that of your team on this matter this year. I also thank the United States of America, Japan and the Republic of Korea for requesting this meeting following the announcement of a missile ballistic missile launch by North Korea. France, in a statement by President Macron, has condemned the launch in the strongest terms, and I would like to once again reiterate, as did our Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jean Yves Le Drian, the full solidarity of France with Japan and the Republic of Korea, which are in the front lines in facing this threat.
Allow me to focus on the three main criteria that guide French policy on this important issue.
The first requirement is the need to be clear-eyed as the threat before us evolves.
Let us make no mistake. After the intercontinental ballistic launches of this summer and the nuclear test of an unprecedented scale on 3 September, the threat has changed in scale and character. From a regional threat, it has become a global threat. From a virtual threat, it has become an immediate threat. In other words, it is of unprecedented gravity. This threat affects all of us because it weighs on all of us.
After this latest launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile yesterday, North Korea has resumed its irresponsible race towards escalation. This new provocation reminds us above all how dangerously the situation has evolved. The methodical progress made in the fields of nuclear and ballistic capabilities — of which this launch is a further illustration — has led to the immediate and global threat to which I have referred. Through the accumulation of increasingly offensive provocations, North Korea continues to threaten regional and international peace and security.
The second requirement that we must prioritize today is that of firmness.
Faced with the regime’s headlong and irresponsible acivities and flouting of its international obligations, we must now more than ever act swiftly, in unity and with resolve. We must respond as one to this attack on peace and security and the system of law on which they are built.
Let us be clear that it is the international nuclear non-proliferation regime itself that is being tested by the North Korean nuclear and ballistic programme. Weakness and inaction are not options.
In that context, our priority is to exert maximum pressure on the North Korean regime through a sound combination of two axes of action.
The first, indispensable axis is to strengthen and accelerate the strict and comprehensive implementation of sanctions already in place. We still have significant options in that regard. The activities of the Committee pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006), supported by the Panel of Experts — as reflected in the very enlightening briefing we received today — are essential in this respect. We particularly welcome indications of the growing number of national implementation reports and ongoing work to make the sanctions stick. We must pursue and intensify these efforts. We must also remain especially vigilant against North Korea’s ever-changing efforts to evade sanctions. Faced with its inventiveness, let us be even more inventive.
But the rapid exacerbation of the threat requires us to go further still. That is why France favours a strengthening of sanctions. We know that only strong sanctions are capable of influencing the North Korean regime’s strategy. France is therefore ready to get straight to work to that end, alongside all its partners on the Security Council. The European Union is also contributing to those efforts. Last month, it adopted new autonomous measures, beyond the transposition of United Nations sanctions.
The firm and united response so ardently sought by France has a twofold objective. First, we must react to Pyongyang’s unjustifiable attitude and avoid sending any message of impunity for the flagrant violation of our decisions. Secondly, as I have said, we must maximise pressure on the North Korean regime to meet its obligations and return to reason.
In that context, the third requirement — both logically and chronologically — is diplomacy, the path to which will be opened only by firm action.
France is convinced that maximum firmness today, in the form of strengthened sanctions, is our best leverage for promoting a political settlement tomorrow. Conversely, anything that could be seen by the North Korean regime as an expression of weakness or internal division would encourage it to pursue its provocations and objectively heighten the threat of resort to extreme measures. To put it simply, the supremely firm attitude that France urges the Security Council to adopt is our best antidote to the threat of confrontation and war and our best way to open the path to a political solution, which we believe must be based on the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
We do not close the door to dialogue and have never closed it. It is the North Korean regime that insists, through its irresponsible and unacceptable attitude, on rejecting it. So long as North Korea remains deaf to our demands and continues to underline its threats with one provocation after another, we will have no choice but to raise the pressure in response. That is the only way to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table and open the path to the necessary political and diplomatic solution that we seek.
These are France’s three complementary priorities that must guide us: a clear-eyed understanding of the unprecedented gravity of the threat, maximum firmness in response, and diplomacy in the service of a political resolution to the North Korean nuclear crisis.
While our collective security is at stake, and with it the future of the entire non-proliferation regime that serves as its backbone, France calls on all stakeholders to take this demanding journey together.