By J Nastranis*
The 15-member Security Council, including the veto-wielding USA, Russia, China, Britain and France, are keen to “reduce tensions in the Korean Peninsula and beyond” and “maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in North-East Asia at large”.
With this in view, they have in a Press Statement on February 13, expressed their “commitment to a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation”. They also welcome “efforts by Council members, as well as other States, to facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue”.
Besides, they have “regretted that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) is diverting resources to the pursuit of ballistic missiles” its “citizens have great unmet needs”.
The Statement “strongly” condemns North Korea’s most recent ballistic missile launches conducted on February 11, 2017 and October 19, 2016, and says: “These launches are in grave violation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s international obligations under United Nations Security Council resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), and 2321 (2016).”
The Security Council members “deplore” all the ballistic missile activities by North Korea, including the recent launches, noting that “such activities contribute to the country’s development of nuclear weapons delivery systems and increase tension”.
The members of the Security Council express “serious concern” that North Korea conducted these ballistic missile launches after the launches on April 15, April 23, April 27, April 28, May 31, June 21, July 9, July 18, August 2, August 23, September 5, and October 14 as well as the nuclear test of September 9, in “flagrant disregard of the repeated statements of the Security Council”.
The Statement says: “The members of the Security Council reiterated that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea shall refrain from further actions, including nuclear tests, in violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions, and comply fully with its obligations under these resolutions.”
The members of the Security Council called upon all Member States to redouble their efforts to implement fully the measures imposed on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by the Security Council, particularly the comprehensive measures contained in resolutions 2321 (2016) and 2270 (2016).
The members of the Security Council directed the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006) to intensify its work to strengthen enforcement of resolutions 2321 (2016) and 2270 (2016) and assist Member States to comply with their obligations under those resolutions and other relevant resolutions. The members of the Security Council also called on Member States to report as soon as possible on concrete measures they have taken in order to implement effectively the provisions of resolutions 2321 (2016) and 2270 (2016).
The members of the Security Council agreed that the Security Council would continue to closely monitor the situation and take further significant measures, in line with the Council’s previously expressed determination.
In a separate statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of South Korea (Republic of Korea – ROK), which had requested a meeting of the Security Council together with Japan and the United States, said, “the ROK government will unwaveringly protect the lives of its people and the security of the nation against any threat from the DPRK, while deterring the DPRK’s nuclear and missile threats, based on the strong ROK-U.S. combined defense posture including by increasing executiveness of extended deterrence”.
It said the ballistic missile launch on February 12 was the first by the DPRK this year, which came after its launches of 24 ballistic missiles in 2016, constituting a flagrant and clear violation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions as well as a grave threat to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and the international community as a whole. “The ROK government condemns the DPRK’s provocation in the strongest terms.”
South Korea said: The repeated provocations by the DPRK pose a direct challenge to the united resolve of the international community manifested in the unanimously-adopted UN Security Council resolution 2321. They also clearly demonstrate the unreasonable nature of the Kim Jong-un regime that is fanatically obsessed with the development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, just as shown in the New Year address, in which it had threatened to launch ICBMs.
“The DPRK’s routinized provocations will serve to further strengthen the international community’s resolve for the denuclearization of the DPRK. By faithfully implementing sanctions against the DPRK including UN Security Council resolution 2321, along with friendly countries’ strong unilateral sanctions, the ROK government will make the DPRK realize that it will never survive unless it abandons all nuclear and missile programs.”
Furthermore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “The ROK government will unwaveringly protect the lives of its people and the security of the nation against any threat from the DPRK, while deterring the DPRK’s nuclear and missile threats, based on the strong ROK-U.S. combined defense posture including by increasing . . . extended deterrence.”