27 September 2014 Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly today, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Ri Su Yong, told delegates that despite recent gains in economic development, his country continued to face “serious obstacles” due to the continuing divisions separating the Korean peninsula.
“Despite unprecedented persistent economic blockade, military threat and political obstruction, we have firmly safeguarded national dignity, effectively deterred war and put the stagnant economy onto an upward track,” Mr. Ri declared, citing recent successes in the DPRK’s fishing industries and livestock farming as well as “a grand boom” in the construction sector.
He noted, however, that the creation of a peaceful environment and reduction of tensions on the Korean peninsula were “ever more precious” to the DPRK Government “than at any time” and would help boost his country’s economy.
“The tense situation of the Korean peninsula does not help us. On the contrary, it presents a serious obstacle in our effort for economic development and improved people’s living standards,” Mr. Ri said.
At the same time, he called for a diplomatic resolution to the 61-year-old stalemate splitting the Korean peninsula in half and advocated for the reunification of both Koreas through a system of confederation.
“The DPRK maintains that the national reunification should be achieved not through a confrontation of systems but by a confederation formula whereby two systems co-exist in a country,” continued Mr. Ri. “It is the only way to prevent war and safeguard peace.”
Turning to other issues, he said reassured the Assembly that his country’s nuclear deterrent was “not intended to threaten or attack others,” nor was it “a bargaining chip to be exchanged for something else.”
Meanwhile, the DPRK Minister of Foreign Affairs also reserved some criticism for the UN Security Council which, he said, “turned its back” when the United States and the Republic of Korea conducted joint military exercises in early 2014.
In addition, he called for the reform of the UN body, suggesting that it would be “a revolution that realizes the democratization of the UN.”
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