10 January 2003 The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has sent a letter informing the Security Council of its decision to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the President of the 15-nation body said today.
Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sablière of France told reporters that he received the notification from the DPRK's Permanent Representative to the United Nations this morning, which he then circulated to the other members of the Council. "It has not been discussed yet [but] there will be consultations on the letter sometime next week," he said.
Earlier Friday, the DPRK's Ambassador, Pak Gil Yon, said that although Pyongyang was withdrawing from the Treaty effective tomorrow, it had no intention of producing nuclear weapons or using its nuclear technology for anything other than peaceful purposes, such as generating electricity.
Reading from the text of the DPRK Government's statement, Ambassador Pak said it was none other than the United States that wrecked peace and security on the Korean peninsula and drove the situation there to an extremely dangerous phase. Instigated by the United States, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had adopted a resolution on 6 January terming his country a criminal and demanding that it scrap what the US called a nuclear programme.
"This glaringly reveals the falsehood and hypocrisy of the signboard of impartiality the IAEA put up," he said at a press conference at UN Headquarters in New York. "The DPRK Government vehemently rejects and denounces this resolution of the IAEA, considering it a great encroachment upon our country's sovereignty and dignity of the nation."
Speaking in his national capacity, Ambassador de La Sablière said France condemned Pyongyang's decision and was in close consultations with its partners, including the countries of the region. "This is a decision of major concern which has important implications," he said. "One of the questions we are facing is how the Security Council will deal with this issue. We think that the Council will have to address this new development."
Meanwhile, Ambassador John D. Negroponte of the United States called today's announcement "not totally unexpected." He said that the DPRK has shown its disdain for the treaty for many years and that today's announcement "represents a further escalation of North Korea's defiance of the international consensus in support of a Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons and a serious challenge to the international non-proliferation regime."
"We reject North Korea's claims that actions by the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency justify its actions," Ambassador Negroponte added. "North Korea has been in violation of the non-proliferation treaty many years. Today's announcement is another step in its confrontational approach to the international community and flies in the face of persistent calls on North Korea to comply with its obligations."