First Committee Sends 22 Texts to General Assembly, Echoing Call for Expanding Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones into Middle East, Bolstering Disarmament Efforts

GA/DIS/3563
27 October 2016
Seventy-first Session, 22nd Meeting (PM)

First Committee Sends 22 Texts to General Assembly, Echoing Call for Expanding Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones into Middle East, Bolstering Disarmament Efforts

Taking action on more than 22 texts, many aimed at bolstering disarmament efforts, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) once again approved a draft resolution that would ask the General Assembly to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, seeking to provide a measure of assurance in a region brimming with turmoil and insecurity.

Approved without a vote, that draft, titled “establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East” (document A/C.1/71/L.1), would have the General Assembly urge all parties to take practical and urgent steps required towards the establishment of such a zone and also invite countries concerned to adhere to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.  The text also made note of the importance of peace negotiations in the Middle East, which should be of a comprehensive nature and represent an appropriate framework for the peaceful settlement of contentious issues in the region.

During further action on draft texts under its nuclear weapons cluster, the Committee approved a broad range of drafts that addressed issues spanning from establishing a treaty to ban nuclear weapons to accelerating disarmament commitments.

Approving a draft titled “convention on the prohibition of the use of nuclear weapons” (document A/C.1/71/L.10), by a recorded vote of 128 in favour to 50 against, with 8 abstentions, the Committee called on the Assembly to reiterate its request to the Conference on Disarmament to commence negotiations on an international convention prohibiting the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances.

With the approval a draft resolution on the “humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons (document A/C.1/71/L.23), by a vote of 143 in favour to 16 against, with 24 abstentions, the Committee would have the Assembly stress that it was in the interest of the very survival of humanity that nuclear weapons never be used again, under any circumstances.  The world body would also, by the text, call upon all States, in their shared responsibility, to prevent the use of nuclear weapons, to prevent their vertical and horizontal proliferation and to achieve nuclear disarmament.

By a draft titled “towards a nuclear-weapon-free world:  accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments” (document A/C.1/71/L.35), approved by a vote of 141 in favour to 24 against, with 20 abstentions, the Assembly would call upon the nuclear-weapon States to fulfil their commitment to undertaking further efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate all types of nuclear weapons, deployed and non-deployed, including through unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures.

Prior to approving that text as a whole, a separate vote was held on operative paragraph 20, which would have the Assembly call upon all States parties to spare no effort to achieve the universality of the Treaty on the Non‑Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and in this regard urges India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon States promptly and without conditions, and to place all their nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.  The Committee decided, by a recorded vote of 167 in favour to 5 against, with 5 abstentions, to retain the paragraph.

Also approved today was a draft resolution on “nuclear disarmament” (document A/C.1/71/L.47), by which the Assembly would urge all nuclear-weapon States to take effective disarmament measures to achieve the total elimination of all nuclear weapons at the earliest possible time.  The Committee approved the draft, as a whole, by a vote of 122 in favour to 42 against, with 20 abstentions, and decided to retain operative paragraph 16, by a vote of 171 in favour to 2 against, with 6 abstentions.

The Committee approved, by recorded vote, the following draft texts:  “The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation” (document A/C.1/71/L.5); “reducing nuclear danger” (document A/C.1/71/L.11); “conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons” (document A/C.1/71/L.13); “humanitarian pledge for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons” (document A/C.1/71/L.24); “nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas” (document A/C.1/71/L.31); “ethical imperatives for a nuclear-weapon-free world” (document A/C.1/71/L.36); “taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations” (document A/C.1/71/L.41); “follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons” (document A/C.1/71/L.42); “follow-up to the 2013 high-level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament” (document A/C.1/71/L.64); and “treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices” (document A/C.1/71/L.65/Rev.1).

The Committee then took separate record votes on preambular and operative paragraphs before approving, as a whole, the following draft resolutions:  “united action with renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons” (document A/C.1/71/L.26); “Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty” (document A/C.1/71/L.28); “decreasing the operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems” (document A/C.1/71/L.33); “towards a nuclear-weapon-free world:  accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments” (document A/C.1/71/L.35); “nuclear disarmament” (document A/C.1/71/L.47); and “nuclear disarmament verification” (document A/C.1/71/L.57/Rev.1).

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved draft resolutions on:  “Mongolia’s international security and nuclear-weapon-free status” (document A/C.1/71/L.20); “further measures in the field of disarmament for the prevention of an arms race on the seabed and the ocean floor and in the subsoil thereof” (document A/C.1/71/L.48); “African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty” (document A/C.1/71/L.49); “Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia” (document A/C.1/71/L.53); and “missiles” (document A/C.1/71/L.59).

During the meeting, the following draft resolutions were introduced:  “report of the Conference on Disarmament” (document A/C.1/71/L.6); “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific” (document A/C.1/71/L.27); “nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas” (document A/C.1/71/L.31); “follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons” (document A/C.1/71/L.42); and “further measures in the field of disarmament for the prevention of an arms race on the seabed and the ocean floor and in the subsoil thereof” (document A/C.1/71/L.48).

Delivering statements during the conclusion of the thematic debate on the disarmament machinery were the representatives of Iran, Spain, Fiji, Republic of Korea, Turkey, Nepal, Malaysia, Portugal, Canada and France.

During the meeting, the following draft resolutions were introduced:  “report of the Conference on Disarmament” (document A/C.1/71/L.6); “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific” (document A/C.1/71/L.27); “nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas” (document A/C.1/71/L.31); “follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons” (document A/C.1/71/L.42); and “further measures in the field of disarmament for the prevention of an arms race on the seabed and the ocean floor and in the subsoil thereof” (document A/C.1/71/L.48).

Delivering statements during the conclusion of the thematic debate on the disarmament machinery were the representatives of Iran, Spain, Fiji, Republic of Korea, Turkey, Nepal, Malaysia, Portugal, Canada and France.

Speaking in explanation of position were representatives of Cuba, Myanmar, Austria, Russian Federation, United States, Brazil, Bulgaria, France, Iran, Indonesia, Colombia, Egypt, Morocco and Chile.

The representatives of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, United States and Republic of Korea spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Friday, 28 October, to continue its consideration of all draft resolutions and decisions before it.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this afternoon to conclude its general debate on all agenda items before it and to take action on draft resolutions and decisions.  For background, see Press Release GA/DIS/3545 of 3 October.

Thematic Debate on Disarmament Machinery

SEYED MOHAMMAD ALI ROBATJAZI (Iran), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the major problem facing the disarmament machinery, particularly the Commission on Disarmament, was a lack of genuine political will on the part of certain nuclear-weapon States and their advocates.  Those States had wished to use that forum to advance their individual interests.  Iran strongly supported an early start, in the Conference on Disarmament, of a convention to prohibit nuclear weapons.  Such an instrument was the only practical option to set the nuclear disarmament process in the right direction.

JULIO HERRÁIZ (Spain), associating himself with the European Union, said that today’s complex challenges regarding security, disarmament and non-proliferation must be based on a multilateral approach within the United Nations.  The working dynamics of the First Committee should be strengthened and improved, while the Disarmament Commission needed to rationalize its debates and discussions.  As for the Conference on Disarmament, he emphasized the need to avoid reactions against that entity, despite years of frustration.  Decisions needed to be taken after reflection and discussion.  The Conference on Disarmament could not be the victim of a hurried search for immediate solutions that did not consider the views and positions of nuclear-weapon States, he said.

PATRICIA CHAND (Fiji) said nuclear weapon proliferation education must aim at reaching diverse peoples and transcending barriers, such as age, gender and race.  With robust advocacy, citizens would generate informed opinions, she said, commending the three regional centres for their role in awareness raising and capacity building in nuclear disarmament and arms control.  Reiterating her Government’s support for the disarmament machinery, she called for adequate resourcing for its various bodies.  Moreover, she encouraged the bodies of the disarmament machinery to continue the good work of advancing international peace and security in the world.

KIM INCHUL (Republic of Korea) introduced a draft resolution on the “Report of the Conference on Disarmament” (document A/C.1/71/L.6), saying that technical updates had been added to the main elements, which had remained more or less the same as the 2015 version of the text.  He expressed sincere appreciation to delegations for their contributions and hoped the draft would be approved by the Committee without a vote, as was the tradition.

RAUF DENKTAŞ (Turkey) said the Conference on Disarmament did not operate in a void and the resumption of its substantive work would help to strengthen international security.  For Turkey, the priority was advancing progress in the Conference on Disarmament towards its primary task of negotiating treaties.  The First Committee was a significant component of the disarmament machinery, but the international community needed to be mindful of imposing a maze of duplication.  It was time to give the best shot to revitalizing the disarmament machinery, he said.

GHANA SHYAM LAMSAL (Nepal) introduced a draft resolution on the “United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific” (document A/C.1/71/L.27).  The Regional Centre, hosted by Nepal, had helped to promote regional discussions on disarmament issues, he said, adding that he was confident that more Member States would lend their support to expanding and enriching its activities.

NADHIRA ZANUDIN (Malaysia) introduced a draft resolution on “Follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons” (document A/C.1/71/L.42).  The draft had been co-sponsored by 53 delegations.  Malaysia remained convinced that the advisory opinion constituted a significant milestone in the global efforts aimed at achieving nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation goals.  With the view to achieving the broadest support possible, her delegation had retained the substantive paragraphs in their existing form and had included technical updates.

CRISTINA MARIA CERQUEIRA PUCARINHO (Portugal) reaffirmed her Government’s staunch commitment to effective multilateralism in the domain of disarmament and non-proliferation.  United Nations bodies that aimed at pursuing multilateral international efforts on disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control remained crucial and irreplaceable.  She regretted to say the United Nations disarmament machinery had been unable to fulfil its mandates.  The long-standing stalemate could only be overcome with the necessary political will to move the disarmament machinery forward and achieve tangible results.

Statements

ROSEMARY MCCARNEY (Canada), speaking also on behalf of Germany and the Netherlands, referred to a draft resolution on a “Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices” (document A/C.1/71/L.65) that called for the creation of a high-level preparatory group.  She emphasized the need for the international community to move forward on that issue.  The draft text would see the creation of a group of governmental experts with a mandate to make recommendations on substantive elements of a future treaty, she said, adding that it would not duplicate the work of the previous group of governmental experts.  Future negotiations on such a treaty would be lengthy and difficult, but that was the reason to make progress now.

ALICE GUITTON (France), also speaking for the United States and the United Kingdom, said that 2016 marked the twentieth anniversary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and Security Council resolution 2310 (2016) had sent a strong message about the contribution the instrument would make to international peace and security.  She called on all signatory States to keep contributing to the objectives and activities of the Preparatory Commission for the Test-Ban Treaty.  Through a draft resolution before the Committee, all States would commit to the shared objective of the Treaty’s earliest entry into force.

RODOLFO BENÍTEZ VERSON (Cuba) said a draft resolution on “Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations” (document A/C.1/71/L.41) was likely to be the most relevant text before the Committee during the current session.  Cuba would vote in favour of that text, as it was an important step toward nuclear disarmament.  His country could not remain as a passive spectator given recent developments.  The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons would constitute a violation of international law and a crime against humanity, he said, calling for the adoption of a conference toward the prohibition of nuclear weapons.  Turning to a draft resolution on the “Follow-up to the 2013 high-level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament” (document A/C.1/71/L.64), he said Cuba welcomed the initiative of convening no later than 2018 a high-level conference on nuclear disarmament to assess progress that had been made in that respect.

HTIN LYNN (Myanmar) referred to a draft resolution on “Nuclear disarmament” (document A/C.1/71/L.47), noting that 41 Member States had co-sponsored the text to date and encouraging more to do so.

FRANZ JOSEF KUGLITSCH (Austria) said “L.41” had been co-sponsored by 57 countries.  The Open-ended Working Group taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations was open to all and had concluded with a concrete set of recommendations.  That resolution had faithfully taken up those recommendations and proposed a conference in 2017 to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.  That conference would be open to all, as reaffirmed in the draft resolution by inviting all Member States to participate.  The conference and resulting treaty were in line with Article 6 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and would be a contribution to that provision.

VLADIMIR YERMAKOV (Russian Federation), speaking also on behalf of the United States and United Kingdom, reaffirmed their commitment to the 1995 resolution concerning a zone in the Middle East free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.  Convening an initial conference of regional States was a worthwhile, valid and achievable goal, he said.  He went on to welcome the announcement by the League of Arab States on the creation of a committee of high-level experts on the issue.

ROBERT WOOD (United States) reiterated key aspects of his Government’s policy on nuclear weapons and their eventual elimination.  Work on disarmament continued steadily without fanfare, he said, adding that the United States did not accept the premise underlying calls for a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.  Diverting the focus away from a proven course would be polarizing and was not a recipe for success in dealing with nuclear weapons.  He emphasized the critical role of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, adding that there was no “legal gap” vis-à-vis States fulfilling their obligations.  The current challenge was not a lack of legal instruments, but technical and security realities.  A treaty banning nuclear weapons would do nothing to address underlying challenges that could not be separated from the broader international security environment.  The world’s nuclear arsenals did not appear overnight nor would they disappear overnight.

CARLOS SERGIO SOBRAL DUARTE (Brazil) introduced a draft resolution on “Nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas” (document A/C.1/71/L.31), reiterating the importance of such zones and their contributions to the wider objective of global disarmament.  It was incumbent on all States to move forward on the shared goal of eliminating the nuclear threat.  He also introduced a draft decision on “Further measures in the field of disarmament for the prevention of an arms race on the seabed and the ocean floor and in the subsoil thereof” (document A/C.1/71/L.48).

Action on Draft Texts

The representative of Bulgaria, speaking in explanation of position, said her delegation did not support a draft resolution on the “Follow-up to the 2013 high-level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament” (document A/C.1/71/L.64).  The convening of another conference in 2018 was a distraction from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.  A conference on nuclear weapons was not a priority and banning them would not guarantee their elimination.

The representative of Cuba said her delegation would abstain from voting on a draft resolution titled “The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation” (document A/C.1/71/L.5) as it had been negotiated outside the United Nations in a manner that had not been transparent.  Moreover, the Code of Conduct did not adequately reflect the interests of a significant number of countries.  Among many shortfalls, the draft text ignored the ongoing modernization of nuclear weapons and referred to ballistic missiles, but not other types of missiles.  On draft resolution L.65, Cuba would also abstain from voting, she said, noting that while she believed negotiations on a fissile material treaty would be a positive step, such an instrument would be insufficient unless it also addressed stockpiles of such material and follow-up steps.

The representative of France referred to a draft resolution on “Humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons” (document A/C.1/71/L.23), saying neither the consequences nor concerns about the devastating humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons were new.  Some had contended that the root to nuclear disarmament was to prohibit the use or possession of them by nuclear-weapon States.  Meanwhile, it was clear that a draft resolution on “Humanitarian pledge for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons” (document A/C.1/71/L.24) was clearly calling for a legal instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.  A ban on such weapons would undermine the Non-Proliferation Treaty and create a far less secure world as it failed to take into account security considerations and would deepen the divide among States parties.  A step-by-step approach was the only way to maintain global security and create the conditions needed for a world in which nuclear weapons were no longer needed.  Turning to draft resolution L.41, she expressed support for a step-by-step approach to nuclear disarmament.  That approach had already yielded concrete results and was the only realistic path to implementation of Article 6 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  That draft resolution contravened the consensus-based approach and would set back the cause by undermining the Non-Proliferation Treaty and divert attention from practical disarmament measures.  As such, her delegation would vote against it.

The representative of Iran said that almost 42 years had passed since Iran had proposed the idea of a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East, but the Israeli regime continued to be the only impediment to that objective.  Israel was also not a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  He also referred to the hypocritical policies of the United States vis-à-vis nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, which would encourage the Israeli regime to maintain the status quo and threaten other States in the region.  Iran would vote in favour of draft resolutions on the “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East” (document A/C.1/71/L.1).

The representative of Indonesia said his delegation would vote in favour of a draft resolution on “United action with renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons” (document A/C.1/71/L.26).  While non-proliferation and disarmament must be pursued in a balance manner, the draft did not put those two important aspects on equal footing.  Expressing an opposition to operative paragraph 14, he said the text could have included a call for all parties concerned to refrain from activities that would exacerbate the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

The representative of Colombia said that all nuclear-weapon States must show greater political will in complying with the Non-Proliferation Treaty and ensuring the entry into force of the Test-Ban Treaty.  Efforts for new solutions should not be carried out in a way that harmed existing progress, he said, adding that initiatives leading to the total elimination of nuclear weapons must include verification provisions.  Colombia would vote in favour of the draft resolution supporting a conference in 2017 to negotiate a prohibition treaty.

The representative of Egypt said he would like to comment on a draft resolution on “Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty” (document A/C.1/71/L.28).  Nuclear weapons posed a great danger and hence Egypt would vote in favour of the draft as a whole.  However, his delegation would abstain from voting on preambular paragraph 4, as it rejected the reference to Security Council resolution 2310 (2016).  He regretted to note that the Security Council had adopted that resolution.  The Security Council was not the platform to discuss the matter, which should be addressed in Vienna under the Test-Ban Treaty.  Turning to “L.5”, he said the Code of Conduct was discriminatory.  It was neither balanced in its approach nor comprehensive in its scope.  With regards to missiles, the Code of Conduct ignored the more advanced means of delivery, such as cruise missiles.  It also included language that would restrict a State’s right to the peaceful use of outer space.  Thus, his delegation would vote against the text.

The representative of Morocco said his delegation would vote in favour of “L.65”.  While it supported negotiations and discussions, he noted that such negotiations should take place in the Conference on Disarmament.  Discussions should cover existing stockpiles of fissile material and should be open to all States.

The representative of Chile said his Government would vote in favour of “L.28”, as it believed in a ban on nuclear-weapon testing and looked forward to the Test-Ban Treaty’s early entry into force.  However, his delegation would abstain from voting on preambular paragraph 4, as it did not support the reference to Security Council resolution 2310 (2016).

The representative of the Russian Federation said that he shared the conclusions voiced by his counterparts from the United States, United Kingdom and France on “L.41”.  The initiative to prohibit nuclear weapons was a destructive and hasty one that undermined and eroded existing disarmament mechanisms and the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Thought should be given to the damage it would wreak on the Treaty.  The effort to ban nuclear weapons might carry some weight if all nuclear-weapon States were willing to participate, but there was no such willingness nor would there be.  The Russian Federation would vote against the draft text, he said, inviting delegations to consider the fatal destructive repercussions if the text would be approved.

The Committee took up a draft resolution on the “Establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region of the Middle East” (document A/C.1/71/L.1), which would have the General Assembly urge all parties directly concerned seriously to consider taking the practical and urgent steps required for the implementation of the proposal to establish such a zone in accordance with relevant Assembly resolutions and invite the countries concerned to adhere to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

The Committee then approved the draft without a vote.

It then took action on a draft resolution on “The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation” (document A/C.1/71/L.5), by which the Assembly would invite all States that have not yet subscribed to the Code of Conduct, in particular those possessing space launch vehicle and ballistic missile capabilities and those developing corresponding national programmes, to do so, bearing in mind the right to use space for peaceful purposes.

Also by the text, the Assembly would encourage the exploration of further ways and means to deal effectively with the problem of the proliferation of ballistic missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction, to take the measures necessary to avoid contributing to such delivery systems, and to continue to deepen the relationship between the Code of Conduct and the United Nations.

The Committee then approved the draft by a vote of 166 in favour to 1 against (Iran), with 19 abstentions.

The Committee then took action on a draft resolution on the “Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons” (document A/C.1/71/L.10).  By the text, the Assembly would reiterate its request to the Conference on Disarmament to commence negotiations in order to reach agreement on an international convention prohibiting the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances.

The Committee then approved the draft by a vote of 128 in favour to 50 against, with 8 abstentions (Armenia, Belarus, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Marshall Islands, Russian Federation, Serbia, Uzbekistan).

The Committee then took up a draft resolution on “Reducing nuclear danger” (document A/C.1/71/L.11), by which the Assembly would call for a review of nuclear doctrines and, in that context, immediate and urgent steps to reduce the risks of unintentional and accidental use of nuclear weapons, including through de-alerting and de-targeting nuclear weapons.  Also by the text, the Assembly would request the five nuclear-weapon States to take measures to do so.

The Committee then approved the draft by a vote of 127 in favour to 49 against, with 10 abstentions (Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, China, Georgia, Japan, Marshall Islands, Russian Federation, Serbia, Uzbekistan).

It then took action on a draft resolution on the “Conclusion of effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons” (document A/C.1/71/L.13), by which the Assembly would appeal to all States, especially the nuclear-weapon States, to work actively towards an early agreement on a common approach and, in particular, on a common formula that could be included in an international instrument of a legally binding character.

Also by the text, the Assembly would recommend that further intensive efforts be devoted to the search for such a common approach or common formula and that the various alternative approaches, including, in particular, those considered in the Conference on Disarmament, be further explored in order to overcome the difficulties.

The Committee then approved the draft by a vote of 129 in favour to none against, with 58 abstentions.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved a draft resolution on “Mongolia’s international security and nuclear-weapon-free status” (document A/C.1/71/L.20).  By its terms, the Assembly would invite Member States to continue to cooperate with Mongolia in taking the measures necessary to consolidate and strengthen Mongolia’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, the inviolability of its borders, its independent foreign policy, its economic security and its ecological balance, as well as its nuclear-weapon-free status.  The Assembly would also appeal to the Member States of the Asia-Pacific region to support Mongolia’s efforts to join the relevant regional security and economic arrangements.

The Committee then turned to a draft resolution on the “Humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons” (document A/C.1/71/L.23), by which the Assembly would stress that it is in the interest of the very survival of humanity that nuclear weapons never be used again, under any circumstances.  It would also, by the text, call upon all States, in their shared responsibility, to prevent the use of nuclear weapons, to prevent their vertical and horizontal proliferation and to achieve nuclear disarmament.

The Committee approved the draft by a vote of 143 in favour to 16 against, with 24 abstentions.

Next, it took up a draft text on the “Humanitarian pledge for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons” (document A/C.1/71/L.24), which would have the General Assembly stress the importance of having fact-based discussions and presenting findings and compelling evidence on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in all relevant forums and within the United Nations framework, as they should be at the centre of all deliberations and the implementation of obligations and commitments with regard to nuclear disarmament.

The Committee approved the draft by a vote of 135 in favour to 33 against, with 14 abstentions.

The Committee then took up a draft resolution on “United action with renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons” (document A/C.1/71/L.26).  By that text, the Assembly would renew the determination of all States to take united action towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons, with a view to achieving a safer world for all and a peaceful and secure world free of nuclear weapons.

The Chair said separate votes had been requested for operative paragraphs 5, 20 and 27.

Operative paragraph 5 was retained by a vote of 176 in favour to 3 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Israel) with 4 abstentions (Bhutan, Equatorial Guinea, Namibia, Pakistan).

Operative paragraph 20 was retained by a vote of 169 in favour, with 4 against (China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Pakistan, Russian Federation) and 7 abstentions (Equatorial Guinea, France, India, Iran, Israel, Namibia, United Kingdom).

Operative paragraph 27 was retained by a vote of 173 with none against and 9 abstentions (Argentina, Brazil, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, India, Israel, Namibia, Pakistan).

The Committee then approved the draft as a whole by a vote of 167 to four against (China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Syria) with 17 abstentions.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution on “Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty” (document A/C.1/71/L.28), which would have the Assembly stress the vital importance and urgency of signature and ratification, without delay and without conditions, in order to achieve the earliest entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

Preambular paragraph 4 was retained by a vote of 172 in favour with none against and 11 abstentions.

Preambular paragraph 7 was retained by a vote of 177 in favour, with none against and 6 abstentions (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Pakistan, Syria, Israel, India, Equatorial Guinea).

The Committee then approved the draft as a whole by a vote of 182 in favour to 1 against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), with 4 abstentions (Equatorial Guinea, Mauritius, India, Syria).

The Committee then had before it a draft resolution on “Nuclear-weapon-free southern hemisphere and adjacent areas” (document A/C.1/71/L.31), by which the Assembly would reaffirm its conviction of the important role of nuclear-weapon-free zones in strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime and in extending the areas of the world that are nuclear-weapon-free, and calls for greater progress towards the total elimination of all nuclear weapons.

The Committee approved the draft by a vote of 179 in favour to 4 against (France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States), with 1 abstention (Israel).

Following that action, the Committee turned to a draft resolution on “Decreasing the operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems” (document A/C.1/71/L.33).  The text would have the Assembly call for further practical steps to be taken to decrease the operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems, with a view to ensuring that all nuclear weapons are removed from high alert status.

Prior to taking action on the text as a whole, a recorded vote was requested on preambular paragraph 8, which was retained by a recorded vote of 168 in favour to none against, with 10 abstentions (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, France, India, Israel, Lithuania, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States).

The Committee then voted on the draft resolution as a whole, approving it by a vote of 174 in favour to 4 against (France, Russian Federation, United States, United Kingdom), with 4 abstentions (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Israel, Lithuania, Republic of Korea).

The Committee then turned to the draft resolution on “Towards a nuclear-weapon-free world:  accelerating the implementation of nuclear disarmament commitments” (document A/C.1/71/L.35).  By the text, the Assembly would call upon the nuclear-weapon States to fulfil their commitment to undertaking further efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate all types of nuclear weapons, deployed and non-deployed, including through unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures.

The Committee approved it by a vote of 141 in favour to 24 against, with 20 abstentions.

Prior to action on the text as a whole, a recorded vote was requested on operative paragraph 14.  The Committee retained the operative paragraph by a vote of 167 in favour to 5 against (India, Israel, Pakistan, Russian Federation, United States) with 5 abstentions (Bhutan, France, Republic of Korea, Ukraine, United Kingdom).

It then took action on a draft resolution on the “Ethical imperatives for a nuclear-weapon-free world” (document A/C.1/71/L.36).  By the text, the Assembly would call upon all States to acknowledge the catastrophic humanitarian consequences and risks posed by a nuclear weapon detonation, whether by accident, miscalculation or design.

The Committee then approved the draft by a vote of 131 in favour to 36 against, with 17 abstentions.

The Committee then considered a draft resolution on “Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations” (document A/C.1/71/L.41), which would have the Assembly reiterate that the universal objective of taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations remains the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons, and emphasizes the importance of addressing issues related to nuclear weapons in a comprehensive, inclusive, interactive and constructive manner, for the advancement of multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations.

The Committee approved the draft by a vote of 123 in favour to 38 against, with 16 abstentions.

It then had before it a draft resolution on “Follow-up to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons” (document A/C.1/71/L.42), by which the Assembly would call once again upon all States immediately to fulfil that obligation by commencing multilateral negotiations leading to an early conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention prohibiting the development, production, testing, deployment, stockpiling, transfer, threat or use of nuclear weapons and providing for their elimination.

The Committee then approved the draft by a vote of 137 in favour to 24 against, with 22 abstentions.

The Committee then had before it a draft resolution on “Nuclear disarmament” (document A/C.1/71/L.47), by which the Assembly would urge all nuclear-weapon States to take effective disarmament measures to achieve the total elimination of all nuclear weapons at the earliest possible time.

A separate vote was requested on operative paragraph 16.  The Committee retained the paragraph by a vote of 171 in favour to 2 against (Pakistan, Ukraine), with 6 abstentions (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, France, Israel, Sudan, United Kingdom).

The Committee then approved the draft as a whole by a vote of 122 in favour to 41 against, with 20 abstentions.

The Committee then took up a draft resolution regarding “Further measures in the field of disarmament for the prevention of an arms race on the seabed and the ocean floor and in the subsoil thereof” (document A/C.1/71/L.48), which would have the General Assembly decide that the triennial report of the Secretary-General requested in paragraph 8 of resolution 44/116 of 15 December 1989 shall henceforth be submitted only when the Assembly so decides.

The Committee then approved the draft without a vote.

The Committee then took up a draft resolution titled “African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty” (document A/C.1/71/L.49).  By its terms, the General Assembly would recall with satisfaction the entry into force of the Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba) on 15 July 2009 and call upon nuclear-weapons States that had not signed the Protocols to the Treaty that concerned them to do so as soon as possible.

The Committee then approved the draft without a vote.

The Committee then took up a draft resolution concerning the “Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia” (document A/C.1/71/L.53).  That text would have the General Assembly welcome the signing of the Treaty’s Protocol on 6 May 2014 by nuclear-weapon States and its ratification by four of them, and call for early completion of the ratification process.

The Committee then approved the draft without a vote.

The Committee took up a draft resolution regarding “Nuclear disarmament verification” (document A/C.1/71/L.57/Rev.1), which would have the General Assembly encourage the Conference on Disarmament and the Disarmament Commission to substantively address nuclear disarmament verification.  It would also request that the Secretary-General seek the views of Member States on developing practical and effective nuclear disarmament verification measures and their importance in achieving and maintaining a world without nuclear weapons, and to report back to the General Assembly at its seventy-second session.

In addition, the Assembly would, by the terms of the text, request the Secretary-General to establish a group of governmental experts to consider the role of verification in advancing nuclear disarmament that would meet in Geneva in 2018 and 2019 for a total of three sessions of five days each.

Prior to action on the text as a whole, a recorded vote was requested on operative paragraph 1.  The Committee then retained the provision by a vote of 181 in favour to 1 against (Russian Federation), with 1 abstention (Israel).

The Committee then approved the draft as a whole by a vote of 177 in favour to 0 against, with 7 abstentions (Belarus, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Syria)

The Committee took up a draft resolution titled “Missiles” (document A/C.1/71/L.59), which would have the General Assembly decide to include as an item in the provisional agenda of its seventy-third session the item entitled “Missiles”.

The Committee then approved the draft without a vote.

The Committee took up a draft resolution concerning “Follow-up to the 2013 high-level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament” (document A/C.1/71/L.64), by which terms the General Assembly would endorse the wide support expressed at the high-level meeting for a comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons, and call for the urgent commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament for the early conclusion of a comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons to prohibit their possession, development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling, transfer, use or threat of use and to provide for their destruction.

In addition, the Assembly would recall its decision to convene, no later than 2018, a United Nations high-level international conference on nuclear disarmament to review the progress made in this regard, and stress the need to establish a preparatory committee for that conference.  It would also request the President of the General Assembly to organize, on 26 September every year, a one-day high-level plenary meeting of the Assembly to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, with the participation of Member and observer States at the highest possible level.

The Committee then approved the draft by a vote of 143 in favour to 28 against, with 15 abstentions.

The Committee took up a draft resolution regarding a “Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices” (document A/C.1/71/L.65/Rev.1), by which terms the General Assembly would urge the Conference on Disarmament to agree on and implement at its earliest opportunity a balanced and comprehensive programme of work that included the immediate commencement of negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices on the basis of document CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein.

By the text, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to establish a high-level preparatory group on a fissile material cut-off treaty with a membership of 25 States, chosen on the basis of equitable geographical representation, which will operate by consensus, without prejudice to national positions in future negotiations, and which will meet in Geneva for two sessions of two weeks each, the first in 2017 and the second in 2018.  That preparatory group would consider and make recommendations on substantial elements of a future non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, on the basis of CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein.  It would also examine, with a view to making possible recommendations, the report of the Group of Governmental Experts, mandated in resolution 67/53, as contained in document A/70/81, as well as the views submitted by Member States as contained in documents A/68/154 and Add.1 and A/71/140 and Add.1.

Moreover, the Assembly would request the Chair of the high-level preparatory group to organize, in New York, two open-ended informal consultative meetings, of two days each, so that all Member States can engage in interactive discussions and share their views, which the Chair shall convey to the preparatory group for consideration.  The first meeting would convene in 2017 to consider the report of the Group of Governmental Experts, and the second in 2018 in order for the Chair to provide a report in his own capacity on the work of the preparatory group.

The Committee then approved the draft by a vote of 177 in favour to 1 against (Pakistan), with 10 abstentions (Bolivia, China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Syria).

The representative of China, speaking in explanation of position, said he had voted against three resolutions:  united action with renewed determination towards the elimination of nuclear weapons, “L.26”; taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations, “L.41”; and treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, “L.65”.  The complete prohibition and the thorough destruction of nuclear weapons was necessary for security.  For its part, China remained committed to not being the first to use nuclear weapons and believed that a complete ban and the elimination of all such weapons would take time.  The issue should be addressed under multilateral mechanisms, he said.

The representative of Cuba explained its vote on L.28, saying it rejected any kind of nuclear weapons testing.  Cuba had always voted in favour of that draft text and had done so again today.  “However, our vote in favour should not be interpreted as endorsement of all elements in L.28,” he said.  Under Security Council resolution 2310 (2016), most Member States had been excluded from matters that were intrinsic to the Test-Ban Treaty.  For that reason, Cuba had abstained from voting on preambular paragraph 4.  On L.57, Cuba had voted in favour of the draft because to be effective, such a draft resolution needed to be carried out under international supervision.  The resolution contained some insufficiencies and ambiguities could not be disregarded and discussions on verification of nuclear disarmament needed to be carried out with the participation of all interested States.

The representative of Israel joined the consensus on L.1 despite having substantial reservations.  It was a consensual resolution, he said, noting that the behaviour of those that had drafted the text had raised questions about how a complex security architecture could be agreed upon when even fundamentally consensual resolutions could not be coordinated with all States.  A credible regional security process was essential, as were the necessary confidence-building measures.  Only once such measures were in place could more ambitious undertakings be considered.  Regional states needed to fully commit themselves to genuine engagement and recognize all States’ rights to exist.  Unfortunately, the Middle East was lacking in mechanisms that could contribute to the building of confidence, de-escalation of tensions and conflict resolution as a whole.  Only through direct discussions could progress be achieved.

He said that on L.26, Israel valued the Non-Proliferation Treaty, but also recognized that the instrument was insufficient in addressing the progress of clandestine nuclear programmes.  Nowhere more than in the Middle East was that the case.  He regretted to say that the resolution had referred to the establishment of the nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East.  Such an arrangement needed to be freely arrived at by all States, not voted upon in multilateral fora, especially those in which not all regional States were members.  On L.28, Israel had voted in favour and had actively participated in the development of all elements of the Test-Ban Treaty’s verification regime.  Still, Israel had been unable to support the language in L.28 in its entirety.  On L.65, Israel’s longstanding position was that the notion of a fissile material cut-off treaty was subsumed in the concept of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, the essential prerequisites for which was far from being fulfilled.

The representative of France considered nuclear weapons to be a deterrent and disarmament efforts could not move forward in a divisive manner.  For its part, France would continue to work on nuclear disarmament efforts.  Speaking on behalf of the European Union delegation, she said the bloc would continue to work towards nuclear-weapon-free zones.  Speaking also for the United States and the United Kingdom, she stated the relation between the level of alert and security was complex, she said.  She expressed concerned that new language in one of the texts had taken away from the joint understanding of the need for a balanced approach.  There were new opportunities in nuclear disarmament, she said, stressing the important of taking an inclusive approach.  Fighting against the proliferation of nuclear weapons was an international commitment and step-by-step progress was needed.

The representative of Switzerland said her country had abstained on “L.41”.  Noting that nuclear weapons were not prohibited, she said that a process to negotiate a treaty prohibiting them constituted one possible avenue among several.  Switzerland had highlighted that any negotiation process and future treaty would benefit from the supported of as many States as possible, including those whose security strategy depended on nuclear weapons.  “L.41” did not reflect Switzerland’s position in that regard, she said, declaring:  “Any new instrument should be in line with the rights and obligations of the NPT.”  Describing that Treaty as the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, around which a prohibition treaty must be articulated, she stressed the importance of agreeing on rules of procedures reflecting willingness to strive for general agreement and consensus on substantive issues.  On “L.64”, she said Switzerland had voted in favour since its introduction and had done so again.  She underlined the call for urgent and effective measures to achieve the total elimination of nuclear weapons, which Switzerland considered fully consistent with the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Different approaches to reaching that objective were possible and negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear weapons convention were not the only option.

The representative of Australia said the delegation had abstained on “L.35”.  Operational paragraph 21 called on States to identify, elaborate, and negotiate legally binding effective measures for nuclear disarmament.  Australia did not support all the outcomes of the open-ended working group, but did strongly support a range of legally binding and non-legally binding effective measures for progressing nuclear disarmament.  That included a fissile material cut-off treaty and striving for the entry into force of the Test-Ban Treaty.  A number of other practical measures had been discussed at the open-ended working group which Australia considered ready for advancing, including on nuclear disarmament verification.

The representative of Sweden said he had voted in favour of “L.41”.  In a deteriorating security environment, progress on nuclear disarmament was more important than ever.  The deadlock remained, however.  The frustration with this lack of progress was wide-spread.  Sweden supported any effective legal measure that would make a difference leading to disarmament.  The overarching goal was the total elimination of nuclear weapons, and that was the main motivation for that resolution.  But, the issue was highly complex.  It was unclear which process would be the most effective.  Sweden did not subscribe that there was a legal gap within existing treaty law.  The Non-Proliferation Treaty remained the indispensable cornerstone on disarmament and non-proliferation, but a ban could reinforce, without replacing, existing treaties.  States engaging in the negotiations had a responsibility to remain fully committed to the Treaty.  The status quo was increasingly dangerous, but today’s vote was only the beginning of a process.  Sweden would take part in those negotiations, and sincerely hoped that the vast majority of others would do so, as well.  Sweden remained equally open to other initiatives, as well.  Switzerland and Sweden had both abstained on “L.36”, he explained.  The two countries’ positions remained the same as when the resolution was previously introduced.  The two delegations believed it was unfortunate that the resolution mixed ethical principles and international law in the way that it did.  Ethical and moral obligations played their role, but the strength of international law was that it was a rules-based system.

The representative of Poland, speaking also on behalf of several other countries on “L.41”, noted with regret significant differences over how to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations.  Starting negotiations without the nuclear-weapon States would be ineffective, with potential adverse effects on security.  For such reasons, Poland could not vote in favour of that draft.

The representative of Iceland, explaining his delegation’s vote against “L.41”, said it was clear that disarmament could only be achieved with the direct involvement of nuclear-weapon States.  While “L.41” would launched a negotiating progress, it was clear that nuclear-weapon States were very unlikely to sign up to it.  The draft would be unable to achieve its key goal, might undermine the Non-Proliferation Treaty and shift the focus to a forum where nuclear-weapon States were not present.  It would take the world further away from the common ideal of a world free of nuclear weapons.

The representative of Norway said it was more important than ever before to find ways to build confidence between countries vis-à-vis disarmament.  Progress had been too slow because nuclear-weapon States had not engaged whole-heartedly.  Negotiations in which nuclear-weapon States did not take part would have no real impact.  He expressed deep concern over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear programme.  He added that Norway had launched a number of disarmament initiatives and that progress could be made through the development nuclear disarmament verification tools.  He also called for full implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The representative of Germany said regarding “L.41” that there had been a long and controversial debate on nuclear disarmament over the past year.  Germany shared the vision of a nuclear-weapon-free world, but negotiations on a nuclear-weapon-ban treaty without the involvement of nuclear-weapon States would be ineffective and divisive.  The effectiveness of the Non-Proliferation Treaty could be weakened by an immediate ban without verification measures.  Germany favoured a step-by-step approach to conditions that would allow for the continuous reduction in nuclear weapons.  Progress on restricting the production of fissile material was one such element.

The representative of Japan had voted in favour of “L.13” since it was important to deepen substantive discussion on negative security assurances.  Japan’s priority on the fissile material cut-off treaty remained unchanged.  On “L.23”, “L.24” and “L.36”, Japan sought to raise awareness, as it recognized the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons from first-hand experience.  For advancing nuclear disarmament, cooperation and mutual trust between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons States was indispensable.  On “L.41”, Japan had devoted tireless efforts to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons and had advocated that it was imperative to pursue as much common ground as possible to achieve that common goal.  It was regrettable that Japan’s position on consensus-building had not been taken into account.  Japan had voted based on the consistency on its national position and was concerned about the fact that the fragmentation of the disarmament community would undermine effective disarmament.  Japan had abstained on “L.42”.  Realistic measures were required to achieve steady progress in non-proliferation.  On “L.47”, Japan shared the goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons, but in order to steadily implement concrete measures, it attached greatest importance to united action by the international community including the nuclear-weapon States.  On “L.65/Rev.1”, an early conclusion of a fissile material cut-off treaty was an important building block towards a world free of nuclear weapons.  Japan supported the resolution with the expectation that it would reignite the momentum towards an early commencement of such a treaty.

The representative of Finland explained that on “L.41”, the discourse on humanitarian aspects of nuclear weapons affected citizens all over the world.  As long as nuclear weapons existed, there was a risk of catastrophe.  Finland advocated for the Non-Proliferation Treaty as the central element of nuclear disarmament and the international security architecture.  A unity of purpose was needed to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world.  Finland supported activities based on progressive approaches and favoured nuclear disarmament that led to concrete outcomes.  That resolution would not achieve that outcome and Finland thus abstained.

The representative of the Russian Federation, explaining his delegation’s abstention on “L.57/Rev.1,” said that decades of experience in disarmament treaties between the Russian Federation and the United States had demonstrated that verification could not be considered without taking into account specific legally binding agreements.  Control mechanisms were not some kind of shop window.  They needed to be precise, calibrated and sensitive to the legal obligations of both sides.  Without a precise understanding of the scope and aim of a treaty, talking about verification simply made no sense.  Disarmament negotiations, given their very specific nature, went on for months and years.  He asked the authors of “L.57/Rev.1” how a group of governmental experts in the course of 15 days of work could achieve any kind of results.  Moreover, verifying real disarmament measures required very specific technical knowledge.  Naturally, such information was secret or top secret.  Disclosure of such information would be extremely dangerous from the point of view of proliferation and directly contradict the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The representative of the Netherlands said his delegation had abstained on “L.41”.  The Netherlands supported a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, but it should be verifiable and comprehensive, and not distract from the Non-Proliferation Treaty and its Article VI.  It should also enjoy the support of nuclear-weapon possessors and non-nuclear-weapon States.  Such conditions had not been reflected in the text.  On “L.64”, also on behalf of several other countries, he said the Netherlands voted against the draft text.  During the 2013 high-level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament, various proposals had been made which regretfully had not been included in past resolutions.  The proposed aim of a negotiating conference in 2018 was unclear and might be interpreted as a way to discuss more divisive instruments, he said, adding that that he did not see the need for a preparatory committee for the 2018 meeting.  He called for the adoption of a comprehensive and balanced programme of work in the Conference on Disarmament and emphasized that starting negotiations without nuclear-weapon States would not advance the shared goal of disarmament.

Right of Reply

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said the Republic of Korea had turned into the largest nuclear weapons depot of the United States and a very dangerous source of potential nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula, which had become the most dangerous hotspot in the world.  That situation been created by the United States’ hostile policies and nuclear blackmail, which had continued for more than six decades, with the level of hostility increasing and raising the risk of war.  Facing that dangerous situation, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had concluded that a nuclear deterrent was the only way to survive, safeguard and defend itself, its people and its dignity.  That was an absolutely legitimate exercise of the right of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to self-defence under the United Nations Charter.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in 2016, had conducted two nuclear tests, one a hydrogen bomb and the most recent one a nuclear warhead.  That was a strong demonstration of the toughest will of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea showing its readiness to counterattack any provocation with nuclear weapons.  “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a full-fledged nuclear-weapon State,” he said.  Despite that fact, the United States did not accept this and continued military manoeuvers and misusing the Security Council for sanctions and the Human Rights Council.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was not Iraq or Libya, he said, reminding his counterpart from the United States that empires came and went.  “Those who are enjoying playing with fire will burn themselves first to their own deaths,” he said.

The representative of the United States said his Government had been consistent in its approaches.  Efforts to isolate countries and ignore their security concerns would not yield the outcome of a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East.  He said his counterpart from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s rhetoric enforced the international community’s concerns about the regime and its dangerous behaviour.  The United States called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to end its nuclear tests and provocative behaviour and abide by its obligations under Security Council resolutions and the Joint Statement of the Fourth Round of the Six-Party Talks.  The United States did not and would not recognize the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as a nuclear-weapon State.

The representative of the Republic of Korea said the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was the threat to the region and had continued to violate international norms and violations, including the United Nations Charter.  The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea needed to keep in mind the condemnation from so many nations in the First Committee.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said the United States’ delegate did not understand what was happening on the Korean Peninsula.  American military bases full of nuclear weapons were all over the Republic of Korea and they were unverified and all targeted at the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  The threat was coming from the United States’ nuclear blackmail targeted at a regime change in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  The Republic of Korea had no legal or moral ground to stand on and had turned the entire land of South Korea, against the will of the nation, into the biggest nuclear weapon depot of the United States, and had handed over control of its own military to the United States.

The representative of the United States, said that the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea needed new talking points, as the existing ones were “pretty stale”.

The representative of the Republic of Korea said the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was misusing the First Committee for propaganda and domestic political purposes.  She urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to stop making delusional arguments and wasting the Committee’s precious time.

For information media. Not an official record.