|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference by Ambassador of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Making a rare appearance at a Headquarters news conference today, a senior diplomat of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea called for the dismantling of the United States-led command in its southern neighbouring State.
Describing the operation, known as “UN Command”, Ambassador Sin Son-ho said it had nothing to do with the United Nations and was simply “a tool” of the United States to deploy its forces during the Korean War. “The UN Command is the U.S. [ United States] command, in essence,” he said, noting that controversy continued to rise regarding the legitimacy of its existence, since it was originally the “Unified Command,” not the “UN Command”, which the Security Council had recommended to establish.
Further, he said that the fundamental reason of the instability on the Korean peninsula was due to the nullification by the United States of the Armistice Agreement that had brought truce to the 1950-1953 war six decades ago.
Turning to his Government’s recent offer to hold senior-level bilateral talks, he pointed out that dialogue could include broad and in-depth discussions on such issues as the replacing of the armistice system with a peace mechanism. To that end, “the dissolution of the UN Command is one of the prerequisite requirements”, he said.
He also stated that the United States was dishonouring the United Nations by using the Organization’s name as if the world body was a warring party in the Korean War. Despite the General Assembly resolution of 1975 on the dissolution of that command, Washington was trying to transform it into the Asian version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He also added that due to its existence, the security mechanism on the peninsula had become “war-oriented”, not “peace-oriented”.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would never give up its nuclear deterrent unless the United States fundamentally and irreversibly abandoned its hostile policy and nuclear threat towards his country and dissolved the Command, he said. He then urged all States to support his Government’s efforts to dismantle it if they “truly want peace and stability on the Korean peninsula”.
Asked to elaborate on its offer of senior-level talks with the United States, the Ambassador said that his Government had “a real intention” to have talks in which the two parties could discuss a wide range of issues related to the easing of tension on the peninsula and replacing the armistice agreement with a peace mechanism. The topics could also include a nuclear-weapons-free world as proposed by the United States. “Denuclearization is our final destination,” but “it should not be unilateral”, he said, stressing that the entire peninsula, not just the northern part, should be denuclearized.
On a question about his country’s harsh rhetoric against the United States and a recent change in its tone of comment, he reiterated that the intensifying tension was entirely caused by the United States, not by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
To a journalist who pointed out that the United States removed nuclear weapons from the South in 1991, he said that the United States was still keeping large forces there.
Regarding the impact of economic sanctions on its people, he urged the United States to stop such measures, stressing that “we are the people, and we are a member of the international community”. Even if United States sanctions and blackmailing continued, the people of his country would survive and its economy would develop, he declared. Further, when asked about the multilateral nature of Security Council sanctions, he urged Member States not to blindly follow United States policy.
To an inquiry about the character and aspirations of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, the Ambassador replied that the question was inappropriate, but that his country “has a great leader”, respected by the entire army and the people of the country.
He also responded to a question on whether or not his nation would grant the United Nations new access to address human rights issues, stating: “We don’t have any human rights problem.”
On a reported change in China’s position on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea nuclear programmes, he said that China was “our neighbour” and “our friendly country”. A special envoy had visited China recently and had friendly discussions to deepen and further develop their friendship and cooperation.
* *** *For information media • not an official record