GA: Use of the Veto and Strengthening of the UN system

Statement by Denmark on behalf of the Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden - during the UN General Assembly Debate on Strengthening of the United Nations system and the Use of the Veto on the 26 May draft UN Security Council Resolution on DPRK Non-Proliferation, 8 June 2022,

I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries – Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and my own country, Denmark

Since it is the first time we convene to discuss the recent use of a veto in the Security Council following the adoption of resolution 76/262, allow me to attach a few remarks to the significance of this debate.

The Security Council is entrusted by the UN Charter with the responsibility to maintain peace and security on behalf of us, the Member States represented here in this assembly. The use of veto to prevent the Council from discharging its duties is a matter of great concern. The debate provides an occasion for the permanent members of the Council who have decided to use their veto-power to explain the reasoning for doing so – not only to the Council – but also to all UN Members states. This contributes to making the Council more transparent and accountable.

The debate also offers other UN Member States the chance to share our views on the matter at hand. We encourage all UN members to make use of this opportunity. Allow me to share the viewpoints of the Nordic countries:

From 2006 and up until 2017 the UN Security had an exemplary track record of adopting resolutions unanimously against activities of the DPRK that posed a threat to regional and international peace and security. In doing so, the UN Security Council lived up to its obligations, namely to address threats to international peace and security.

The Council’s unity remains of great importance for maintaining international law and responding to such threats. The latest UN security council resolution 2397 (2017) addressing the ballistic missile test and nuclear weapons programme of the People´s Democratic Republic of Korea states a clear commitment to: “take action to restrict further the export to the DPRK of petroleum” if the DPRK “conducts a further nuclear test or a launch of a  ballistic missile system capable of reaching intercontinental ranges or contributing to the development of a ballistic missile system capable of such ranges”.

This resolution explicitly expressed the Security Council’s determination to impose specific restrictions towards the DPRK in case of further nuclear or ballistic missile activities.

Mr. President

Since the beginning of this year, DPRK has conducted an unprecedented number of ballistic missile tests, in clear violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions. This weekend alone saw eight missile launches.

The Nordic countries consider these actions a clear breach of Security Council resolutions – including 2397(2017) – that undermine regional stability, threaten international peace and security and could further heighten tensions. As the Director General of the IAEA stated earlier this week, there are indications of renewed activities of renewed activities in several nuclear sites in the DPRK.

Blatantly ignoring the Security Council’s resolutions must have consequences.

With the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security as enshrined in the UN Charter, the Council has a responsibility to step up and act in a situation like the one before us. The power of the veto should not limit the Council in fulfilling its mandate.

We therefore strongly regret the use of the veto on this issue.

Mr. President

The Security Council has clearly affirmed that the sanctions imposed are not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population of the DPRK. The draft resolution proposed to broaden the humanitarian exemption mechanism. This would have been a timely update given the critical humanitarian needs in the DPRK, especially after recent reports of COVID-19 spreading throughout the country.

We call on the DPRK to end its self-imposed blockade and allow the UN, its resident coordinator, and other international organizations to re-enter and resume their humanitarian work to meet the needs of the most vulnerable.

Mr. President

We will continue to uphold the integrity and credibility of the UN Security Council’s decisions and resolutions. We also urge the DPRK to re-engage in meaningful dialogue with all relevant parties to build a basis for sustainable peace and security and to take steps aimed at pursuing complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

And we take this opportunity to urge the two permanent members of the Security Council who vetoed the resolution to reconsider their position in this important matter.

Thank you.