Wednesday, March 30, 2016

On March 2, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se addressed the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. These are excerpts from his remarks.

…We all know the [Conference on Disarmament] can play a catalytic role in furthering disarmament and arms control, thereby improving the international security landscape. Unfortunately however, since 1998, the CD has lost steam … In particular, the paralysis in the CD is sending out the wrong message on the global non-proliferation regime centered on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT).

In 2011, at the CD, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that … “the continued deadlock has ominous implications for international security. The longer it persists, the graver the nuclear threat — from existing arsenals, from the proliferation of such weapons, and from their possible acquisition by terrorists.”

And unfortunately, we are witnessing that his warnings on the nuclear threat are materializing … because of the DPRK, a member of this Conference. Indeed, North Korea has an unmatched notorious track record:

It is the first country which has conducted nuclear tests in this century; it has conducted four nuclear tests and launched six long-range missiles in the last 10 years, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and international norms;

It is the first country which has developed nuclear weapons programs within the NPT regime and announced its withdrawal from both the International Atomic Energy Agency and the NPT;

It is the first country which has officially declared itself as a “nuclear-armed state” in its constitution; and

It is also the first CD member state which declared itself as “the youngest nuclear weapons state,” at this very Conference last year and threatened the “final destruction” of another CD member state, the Republic of Korea, here in this august chamber right after its third nuclear test in February 2013.

… Pyongyang is like a serial offender. It is no wonder that the Security Council will very soon adopt a landmark resolution with the strongest ever non-military sanction measures in seven decades of U.N. history. This is a clear manifestation of the resolve of the international community to punish North Korea’s provocations once and for all.

It is also no wonder that some member states raised the issue of the DPRK’s qualifications as a peace-loving U.N. member state … in view of its persistent provocations and non-compliance. North Korea has defied, and is even now defying, U.N. sanctions and international condemnations by declaring it will continue long-range missile launches. Last week, Pyongyang even stated in public that it will strike the Republic of Korea, as well as the U.S., to take revenge in stunning and unimaginable ways.

First, for the sake of the integrity and credibility of the NPT regime, we should make urgent efforts to stop and roll back North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities in accordance with existing and new U.N. Security Council resolutions … As one defense minister of a CD member state in the southern hemisphere recently remarked, no country in the world is now free from North Korea’s nuclear and missile blackmail. Indeed, we are living under Pyongyang’s nuclear sword of Damocles, dangling right above our heads.

Second, we must strengthen the rule of law in the global non-proliferation and disarmament regime, particularly through ensuring universality and compliance. In this regard, North Korea’s nuclear tests are a direct challenge… So, I hope that later in June, at the ministerial meeting to be held in the 20th anniversary of the Treaty’s adoption, North Korea will be on the top of the agenda….

Third, individual countries should be encouraged … to work towards our common vision of Global Zero, a world free of nuclear weapons. During the previous Nuclear Security Summit in March 2014, my President spelled out the vision of a nuclear-weapons free Korean Peninsula. Since that time, my government has been active in regional and global forums to turn the dreams of a nuclear-weapons free world into a reality… Kazakhstan is a good model of non-proliferation, and a rapidly rising economy …. This success story is in stark contrast to what is happening in North Korea.

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