Norway welcomes the opportunity for the General Assembly to discuss today this deeply troubling issue related to international peace and security.
Since the beginning of this year the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has performed a record number of ballistic missile tests, including the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Furthermore, we are deeply concerned by the DPRK’s disturbing rhetoric on nuclear weapons, and reported development of its nuclear programme.
Norway strongly condemns the DPRK’s series of ballistic missile launches. The actions of the DPRK constitute a threat to international security, and are in clear violation of several Security Council resolutions.
We therefore deeply regret the vetoes cast by the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on the draft resolution proposed by the United States on 26 May in the Security Council, blocking an otherwise consensus text, and preventing the Council from fulfilling its mandate towards the maintenance of international peace and security.
These developments demand a unified response from the Security Council.
It is necessary – now more than ever – for the Council to uphold its responsibilities, and fulfil the commitment already established in 2017 under Resolution 2397 – where the Council unanimously expressed its determination to take further significant measures in the event of a further DPRK nuclear test, or a launch of a ballistic missile system capable of reaching intercontinental ranges.
Norway is worried about the humanitarian situation in the DPRK, especially after recent reports of COVID-19 spreading throughout the country. In this respect, we remain concerned by the decision of the DPRK to continue to keep its borders closed. This action impedes the international community’s continued willingness to offer assistance to the vulnerable civilian population.
We urge the government of the DPRK to cooperate with the international community to enable humanitarian supplies, including COVID-related assistance. It is deeply troubling to see the government continue to channel its resources into the development of weapons of mass destruction, instead of much needed housing, food, and vaccines to its own people.
The proposed Security Council resolution would have broadened the humanitarian exemption mechanisms considerably. This would have been a timely update given the critical humanitarian needs in the DPRK. This is why Norway, as an elected member of the Security Council, voted in favour of the proposed resolution.
We urge the government of the DPRK to comply fully with its international obligations, reverse its course, return to dialogue, and re-join the international non-proliferation regime- including through the NPT and IAEA safeguards.
We regret the use of the veto that brought us here today. It prevented the Security Council from fulfilling its mandate, and taking necessary action on this very serious, and escalating security and humanitarian situation. This lack of consensus on an issue of non-proliferation is deeply troubling, especially ahead of the ‘10th Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons’ to be held this August. The NPT is the cornerstone of our common efforts towards nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, and peaceful uses.
The United Nations cannot remain silent on threats to international peace and security, especially not on issues of this magnitude involving the development of weapons of mass destruction, and the imminent threat of proliferation- which ultimately, endangers us all.