United Nations


General Assembly

4 April 1997

           Letter dated 31 March 1997 from the Permanent Representative
         of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations addressed to 
                             the Secretary-General

     I have the honour to transmit to you a resolution of the National
Assembly of the Republic of Korea calling for the cancellation of a
plan by a power company of Taiwan Province of China to ship 200,000
barrels of radioactive waste to the Democratic People's Republic of

     Chapter 22 of Agenda 21 specifically deals with the issue of
radioactive waste.  At its second session, in May 1994, the Commission
on Sustainable Development called upon the international community to
take all necessary steps to prohibit the export of radioactive waste,
except to countries with appropriate waste treatment and storage
facilities.  Furthermore, radioactive wastes are cited as one
of the major threats to the environment in a document of the
fifth session of the Commission (E/CN.17/1997/4).

     The fact that a power company of Taiwan Province of China could
attempt to export radioactive waste to a country where appropriate
facilities are lacking, without being subject to any existing
international regulatory mechanism, clearly testifies to the need to
strengthen the current international regime controlling the
transboundary movement of radioactive waste.  The newly emerging
threat and danger to the environment arising from irresponsible and
inappropriate transboundary movements of radioactive waste deserves
the serious attention of the Commission on Sustainable Development and
of the General Assembly at its special session.

     I would greatly appreciate it if you would arrange for the present
letter and the annexed resolution to be circulated as an official
document of the fifth session of the Commission on Sustainable
Development, under item 4 of the provisional agenda, and of the
special session of the General Assembly for the purpose of an overall
review and appraisal of the implementation of Agenda 21.

                                                  (Signed)  PARK Soo Gil      
                                                      Permanent Representative

                                    Annex *

(* The present annex has been reproduced as received.  The
designations employed and the presentation of the material in this
annex do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the
part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal
status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities,
or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.)


     The National Assembly of the Republic of Korea,

     Stressing that good-neighbourliness is the supreme value in
relations between neighbouring countries, and that the environment
should be protected and preserved not just for our generation but also
for our descendants,

     Deeply concerned that nuclear waste, even of low or mid-level
radioactivity can seriously affect the environment for human beings,
and that damages caused by radiation may last longer than a century,

     Bearing in mind the generally accepted principle of international
law that nuclear waste should be stored or disposed of in the country
where they are generated,

     Noting that Taiwan's attempt to ship its nuclear waste to North
Korea, seeking its own benefit at the expense of another country's
environment, is ethically unacceptable, 

     Recalling that the European Union declared it wrong for
economically and technically advanced nations to export nuclear waste
to developing countries by adopting in 1989 the Lome Convention which
banned the EU member States' shipment of nuclear waste to African,
Caribbean and Pacific region,

     Expressing our firm belief that it is unacceptable for North Korea
to import nuclear waste against the interest of our nation and at the
risk of contaminating our people's living environment,

     Deeply concerned that such an unscrupulous step taken by North
Korea can jeopardize the ongoing inter-Korean cooperative projects,

     Sincerely hoping that Taiwan will contribute to the promotion of
friendly and cooperative relations in this region by withdrawing its
plan to ship nuclear waste to North Korea,

     1.  Strongly urges the Taiwanese authorities to immediately stop
the plan of exporting their nuclear waste to North Korea;

     2.  Sternly demands in the name of the Korean people that the
North Korean authorities not import nuclear waste from Taiwan or any
other source in order to preserve the health and safety not just of
our own generation but of our future generations as well.



This document has been posted online by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

Date last posted: 15 January 2000 16:15:30
Comments and suggestions: esa@un.org