New York

30 November 2016

Secretary-General's remarks to the Security Council on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

The Security Council has today taken strong action on one of the most enduring and pressing peace and security challenges of our time: the nuclear and ballistic missile activities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. I welcome the unanimous adoption of this new resolution. Maintaining such unity is crucial in tackling security challenges on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.
 
The Council first adopted a resolution on the DPRK nuclear issue in 1993. Twenty-three years and six sanctions resolutions later, the challenge persists.
 
This time, the Council has taken longer than ever before, nearly three months, in responding to a nuclear test by the DPRK – its fifth such act. The time taken to reach agreement on this resolution vividly illustrates the complex nature of the challenge.
 
This year, the Council has met on nine occasions in emergency consultations in response to nuclear tests and ballistic missile activities of the DPRK. This is an unprecedentedly high number.
 
Since January, the DPRK has conducted two nuclear tests and at least 25 launches using ballistic missile technology, including launches of satellite, submarine-based ballistic missiles, and medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
 
We must assume that, with each test or launch, the DPRK continues to make technological advances in its pursuit of a military nuclear capability. The increase in and nature of these activities pose an ever growing threat to regional security and the global non-proliferation regime.
 
Today’s resolution includes the toughest and most comprehensive sanctions regime ever imposed by the Security Council. It sends an unequivocal message  that the DPRK must cease further provocative actions and comply fully with its international obligations.
 
Targeted sanctions matter. Security Council sanctions represent the clear and unified will of the international community.
 
Yet sanctions are only as effective as their implementation. It is incumbent on all Member States of the United Nations to make every effort to ensure that these sanctions are fully implemented.
 
Some States may have difficulty translating sanctions into their national regulatory regimes. Others may lack the capacity to enforce them within their territories. This is why we need international partnerships for capacity building.
 
Sanctions should be anchored in a comprehensive strategy for lasting peace and security. We must remain committed to a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to this complex and dangerous situation. As demonstrated by the agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme, a diplomatic solution can be achieved if there is the will. 
 
The DPRK must reverse its course and move onto the path of denuclearization through sincere dialogue. I reiterate my call on the DPRK to take the necessary steps to reduce tensions in the region.
 
It is important not to forget the country’s acute humanitarian needs. The civilian population in DPRK, including vulnerable groups such as the elderly, pregnant women and children, are particularly exposed to hardships, which are further aggravated by natural disasters. International humanitarian assistance remains vital for safeguarding the lives of millions in need.
 
I also reiterate my call on the DPRK authorities to engage with the international community to address the grave human rights situation and improve the living conditions of its people.
 
In addressing all these challenges, I would like to conclude by reaffirming the readiness of the United Nations to assist in any way possible.
 
Thank you.