Democratic People’s Republic of Korea



H.E. Mr. Li Hyong Chol
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary,
Permanent Representative of the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the United Nations

At the 56th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

New York, November 13, Juche90 (2001)

check against delivery
Mr. President,

I congratulate you once again on your election as President of the 56th session of the United Nations General Assembly. I also wish to express high appreciation to Mr. Harri Holkeri who has undertaken the Presidency of the 55th session of the United Nations General Assembly in an excellent manner.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend warm congratulations again to Mr. Kofi Annan on his re-election as the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Mr. President,

Last year, the Heads of State and Government around the world held the millennium summit in this hall and committed themselves to building a peaceful and prosperous world in the new century. And this gave high hope and expectations to all people of the world.

However, the developments that are now taking place on the globe overshadow possible implementation of the millennium summit commitments.

The principles of respect for national sovereignty and equality that constitute a cornerstone of international relations are undermined by certain forces that take “strength” as a means for achieving everything.

As long as there is acquiescence to acts of arbitrary power designed to destroy strategic stability and to hold an absolute supremacy by way of establishment of the “missile defense” system in defiance of international opposition, the world will be engulfed in another “cold war” and arms race.

Mr. President,

The problem of the Korean peninsula is always taken up as one of the major issues in the deliberations on global peace and security.

It is because of the power policy and arbitrary actions exercised in international relations that are directed, in most cases, to target the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

We are exposed to constant threat from the huge armed forces,  including nuclear weapons, deployed around the Korean peninsula under the pretext of a fictitious "threat from North Korea", and this is a main source of instability on the Korean peninsula and in the Asia-Pacific region.

This notwithstanding, we have been able to firmly defend the dignity and sovereignty of the country on our own, in face of the offensive by the hostile forces and under the difficult conditions of an “arduous march” unprecedented in our history, thus contributing to the peace and security of the region.

This is entirely attributable to the outstanding army-first politics of the respected General KIM JONG IL. The great leader General KIM JONG IL conducted active diplomacy, including the visit to China and Russia and the meeting with the top-level delegation of the European Union this year, and thus made great contributions to developing overall international relations and strengthening global peace and security.

In particular, the DPRK-Russia and the DPRK-China summit meetings and talks resulted in the adoption of documents reflecting shared views on strengthening the leading role of the United Nations in resolving major international issues, ensuring strategic balance and so on. This serves as a historic milestone in establishing a new fair world, based on the principles of mutual respect and cooperation for mutual benefit.

We will, as ever, firmly defend our sovereignty and the socialist system of our country and advance convincingly along the road chosen by ourselves under the army-first leadership of the respected General KIM JONG IL.

Mr. President,

It is a unanimous desire of all Korean people to reunify the divided country at the earliest possible date.

Last year, the inter-Korean summit meeting was held and the North-South Joint Declaration issued for the first time in the history of national division, thanks to the idea of national independence and great national unity of the great leader Comrade KIM JONG IL.

The Joint Declaration reflects the will and aspirations of the Korean people to achieve reunification independently by pooling the efforts of the nation. It enjoys wide support and is welcomed by the international society;  the United Nations General Assembly at its 55th session unanimously adopted the resolution supporting the Joint Declaration.

By the publication of the Joint Declaration, the enthusiasm for reunification was manifested throughout the Korean peninsula and dialogues and contacts in various fields took place between the north and the south of Korea. It demonstrated that the Korean nation could well open the door of reunification by itself if the north and the south make joint efforts with sincere will for independent reunification.

However, the inter-Korean relations and implementation of the June 15 Joint Declaration, which were proceeding well in the right direction, are faced with a big obstacle due to the hard-line hostile policy and unjust interference of the new US Administration against the DPRK.

The half-a-century history of national division and, in particular, the experiences during the past year clearly show that the north and the south of Korea should, above all, adhere to the stance of national independence if they are to implement the North-South Joint Declaration.

Only when the north and the south collaborate as one nation can they open up a bright future for the nation, without becoming a victim of outside forces.

The most important element in implementing the North-South Joint Declaration and achieving peace and reunification on the Korean peninsula is to put an end to the hostile policy and interference of the United States against the DPRK.

It is totally irrational to say that the United States deploys huge armed forces in and around the Korean peninsula and conducts large-scale military exercises against us to advance peace, whereas it is a “threat to peace” that we take self-defensive measures to cope with the US military threat.

Our missile programme is of a purely peaceful nature and does not pose a threat to any country that respects the sovereignty of the DPRK.

It makes no sense for the United States to argue that it would establish a "missile defense" system out of fear of our missiles, while possessing thousands of nuclear bombs and missiles that could extinguish humankind many scores of times. This argument only covers up its strategy to gain domination of the world based on superior power.

Since the cold war is over and the north and the south of Korea are proceeding to reconciliation and cooperation in pursuit of the June 15 Joint Declaration, there is neither reason nor any ground whatsoever for the US troops to remain in south Korea. Withdrawal of the US troops from south Korea is an urgent issue whose solution should not brook any further delay for the sake of ensuring peace and security on the Korean peninsula and also in Northeast Asia.

Dialogue should be conducted on a fair and equal basis.

Resumption of the DPRK-USA dialogue will only be possible when the present US Administration gets rid of the Cold War mentality and adopts a stance at least at the level of the one taken by the Clinton Administration in the last period of its term of office.

During the last two years, we established official relations with almost all member states of the European Union and diplomatic relations with the EU itself and countries of other regions as well, on the basis of the principles of respect for sovereignty and equality.

We are also ready to develop relations with the United States on the principles of equality and mutual benefit if the US respects our sovereignty and freedom of choice, takes an attitude of goodwill towards us on an equal footing and refrains from obstructing the reunification of Korea.

Another factor of instability that casts a dark shadow on the future development of the Korean peninsula and its surroundings is the orientation of Japanese moves, that is, the ultra-rightist inclination of Japan and its ever undisguised attempt to revive militarism.

My delegation wishes to draw the attention of all member states to this matter at this General Assembly held in the first year of the 21st century.

The Japanese authorities are not willing to liquidate their past crimes against humanity, but rather try to justify them, openly visiting the “Yasukuni Shrine” where the departed souls of the war criminals are placed, distorting the history textbooks for new generations and legalizing the overseas advance of the “Self-Defense Force”.

     On August 29, Japan test-fired a “H-2A”large-size delivery rocket that could be easily converted into an intercontinental ballistic missile.  This is a clear indication that the militarism of Japan has become politicized and is proceeding to an open and dangerous stage.

     Japan, which has always stigmatized our peaceful satellite launch as a “missile launch”, said openly that its test-fire of the rocket was to “cope with north Korea’s missile”, thus invoking military confrontation. Japan should not misjudge our moratorium on satellite launches and the peaceful character of our missile program.

We strongly urge Japan to look squarely at the reality, thoroughly eliminate its past inhumane crimes and sincerely turn to the road of peace in the new century. This will be good for the future of Japan.

Mr. President,

The most important task of the UN member states today is to strengthen the central role of the United Nations vis-à-vis international issues.

It would be essential that member states honor and implement the UN Charter in good faith.  The UN Charter enshrines the purposes and principles for developing friendly international relations on the basis of sovereign equality.

However, certain countries do not hesitate to undertake unilateral coercive actions and even resort to the use of force against sovereign states, ignoring and violating the UN Charter.

Member states should reject any attempt that goes against the UN Charter and other principles and norms of international laws and strive to establish a new fair world structure based on the rule of law, equality, mutual respect and cooperation for mutual benefit, with a view to ensuring world security and stability.

If the leading role of the United Nations is to be strengthened in dealing with global issues, the UN should be reformed in a democratic way.

In this regard, we are of the view that it is essential to heighten the authority of the General Assembly. The General Assembly must be empowered to consider issues relating to world peace and security and approve major resolutions of the Security Council on these issues. Reform of the Security Council should be pursued in the context of strengthening the authority of the General Assembly.

We hold that the Security Council reform should be undertaken in full conformity with its intrinsic purpose.

The Security Council reform must ensure enough representation of the developing countries and full fairness in the UN activities for achieving international peace and security.

We place on record our strong opposition to talking in any manner about the permanent membership of Japan on the Security Council when it has neither liquidated nor recognized its past crimes and while no agreement has yet been reached on increasing the number of permanent members.

One of the major challenges to the UN and its member states today is global poverty, which grows ever more serious.

Poverty that has resulted from colonialism in the past continues to be aggravated due to the inequitable international monetary systems and neo-colonial policies. It also becomes a factor that begets conflicts, diseases and hunger and hampers the independent and creative life of people and their enjoyment of the right to development.

If poverty is to be eradicated, a fair and equitable international economic order should be established and sustainable development ensured. We will have to draw due lessons from the demonstrations in Genoa last July and properly handle the issue of globalization.

In this regard, it should be underlined that the developed countries and the international financial institutions assume big responsibilities. The United Nations should encourage the member states to direct their attention to considering more practical measures for eradicating poverty and achieving development.

Mr. President,

It is the consistent and principled position of the government of the DPRK to oppose whatever support to any forms of terrorism.

The large-scale terrorist incident that occurred in the United States on September 11 was very regrettable and tragic and it reminds us of the gravity of terrorism.

             Now, the situation in Afghanistan is grave, where instability, unprecedented human loss and material damages are brought about by the military operation of the United States.

             The prevailing situation requires that the leading role of the United Nations be definitely strengthened in preventing terrorism and the national obligations for elimination of terrorism be fully discharged by all member states.

            Yesterday, we signed the “International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism” and acceded to the “International Convention against the Taking of Hostages”. This shows that we make every possible effort to eliminate terrorism in the world.

              As already stated, the aim of our opposing terrorism is to promote global peace and stability, defend the sovereignty of the country and nation,  and protect the lives and property of the peoples.

              We are of a strong view that imposing the label of “terrorism” on  countries advocating for sovereign equality, violating their sovereignty and inflicting immeasurable pain on the people by resorting to arbitrary armed intervention, sanctions, etc., should in no way be tolerated. There is no justification in any case for the use of force or resorting to war and taking innocent lives, undermining the situation and destroying stability in the fight against terrorism.

Mr. President,

My delegation wishes to reaffirm that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will continue to fully cooperate with all member states to uphold and implement the purposes and principles of the UN Charter under the ideas of independence, peace and friendship.

Thank you, Mr. President.