DPR Korea’s nuclear test threatens global disarmament efforts, Ban warns

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) meets with Tarja Halonen, President of Finland

27 May 2009 – The recent nuclear and missile tests conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) jeopardize continuing global efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned.

Addressing Finland’s Parliament in the capital, Helsinki, yesterday, Mr. Ban said that the DPRK’s nuclear test on Monday, its second ever, and its subsequent launch of short-range missiles not only “create tension in the region,” but “will also pose serious implications to peace and security on the regional and global level.”

Speaking to reporters following his speech, the Secretary-General said that the Security Council, which condemned Monday’s nuclear test in a press statement, can “start to take further measures corresponding to the gravity of this situation.”

Joining the chorus of world leaders in speaking out against the test, he said it is in “flagrant violation” of the Council’s resolution 1718 from 2006, which demanded that the country “not conduct any further nuclear test or launch of a ballistic missile,” following its claims to have conducted a nuclear test in October of that year.

Mr. Ban reiterated his appeal to DPRK’s leaders to “refrain from taking any further measures, which will deteriorate the situation, which will create tensions in the region, which will pose negative implications for the ongoing international community’s efforts to curb nuclear non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, as well as nuclear disarmament talks which are now going on between the United States and the Russian Federation.”

DPRK authorities should abide by all commitments made to the international community as a member of the United Nations, he added.

As a former Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and in light of the other roles he was involved in regarding the denuclearization process on the Korean peninsula, the Secretary-General said that he feels a greater “sense of responsibility about the situation” in the area.

“All these experiences, and my direct involvement, made me feel much more frustrated by the lack of control as to the denuclearization process, as had been agreed in the Six-Party joint statement,” he said, referring to the September 2005 agreement – involving China, DPRK, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States – in which the DPRK committed itself to abandon nuclear weapons and rejoin the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The DPRK’s only “viable option,” Mr. Ban pointed out, is for it to return to the table for talks.

In his address to the Finnish Parliament, the Secretary-General also touched on climate change, calling for the Nordic nation’s support in wrapping up negotiations on an ambitious new pact to slash greenhouse gas emissions at this December’s UN conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

He also announced that the world body will shortly be launching a Global Vulnerability Alert, with information being collected in real-time and shared with Member States to monitor the social effects of the current global economic crisis.

Before heading back to New York today, Mr. Ban met with former UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari, as well as Finland’s Minister for Foreign Trade and Development and a group of Finnish non-governmental organizations.


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