Statement by Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN Volodymyr Yelchenko at the UNSC Thematic Meeting on Denuclearization of the DPRK

As delivered.

Mr President,

North Korea’s advancing nuclear and ballistic missile programs is extremely urgent nuclear proliferation challenge of our time; and therefore I thank the US Presidency and you personally for convening today’s ministerial meeting on this highly topical issue. I also thank the Secretary-General for his useful update.

Ukraine unfailingly condemns in the strongest terms Pyongyang’s continuous illegal activities in the pursuit of developing nuclear missile capabilities, in gross violation of its international obligations. They have already seriously undermined the non-proliferation regime as a whole.

The nuclear threat to the region is growing despite immense political and diplomatic efforts. Regrettably, we have seen no signs of DPRK’s intention to change its behavior.

What we have seen is the alarming persistence, not to say ever-growing obsession, of the North Korean leadership. As a result, the whole world faces a gloomy prospect of a large-scale military confrontation, with unpredictable consequences.

Mr President,

We all agree that existing challenges related to the DPRK nuclear and missile ambitions should be addressed collectively, decisively and without any further delay.

Apparently, the existing sanctions regime is not effective enough to prevent the DPRK from acquiring technologies, materials, equipment and financial resources for the further development of its nuclear and missile programs.

Sadly, we are witnessing steady evolution of North-Korean tricks to evade sanctions. It had been proven many times – most recently by the pictures of military parade in Pyongyang with the whole range of new weaponry, never seen before.

We all know that the North-Korean regime continues to build up its military arsenal at the expense of its own people. The impact of diverting resources has already produced a downward spiral of the steady deterioration of the quality of life for ordinary citizens. But does the regime care? Absolutely not!

Mr President,

Ukraine’s stance in this regard has been consistent – the Council should find ways to increase international pressure on the North-Korean regime to respond to its reckless, unabated behavior. We do believe that only robust steps by the Council could put an end to the systematic and brutal violations of international law and eradicate the growing nuclear threat in South-East Asia.

We must not allow Pyongyang to continue discrediting the role of the Security Council in the context of global nonproliferation efforts.

What could be the ways to effectively curb the North Korean nuclear threat? You clearly outlined them, Sir, in your own statement.

Undoubtedly, unconditional and faithful compliance with Security Council’s resolutions is a key prerequisite to lower the level of the threat in the region and to prevent new provocations. Yet, the Council may have to take additional robust measures with the view to compelling the DPRK to abandon its prohibited activities including the development of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other types of weapons of mass destruction. We need to use every tool and avenue at the disposal of Council members to contribute to de-escalating the current highly volatile situation.

Second, we fully share the necessity of further fostering neighbouring states’ defense capabilities against this threat. In this regard, I wish to reiterate that Ukraine stands firmly by the side of Japan, the Republic of Korea as well as other countries, which are facing the growing nuclear threat.

Third, it is high time to think what we can do to prevent any nuclear threat in the future in any part of the globe. Are we able to assess the whole range of real challenges to the non-proliferation regime to avoid the disaster in the future? The forthcoming non-proliferation Treaty Review cycle is suitable platform for this.

In this regard, Mr President, I need to underscore the following. Disrespect for international law and attempts to undermine or change the established world order are becoming more systematic nowadays. The North-Korean actions are a testament to this trend, but not the only one.

Erosion of the existing system of international security, continuous breaches and unaddressed violations of international law pose a significant threat to the whole mankind. It is therefore the ultimate responsibility of the Security Council to spare no effort in order to restore respect for those norms, ensure fulfillment of international commitments and obligations, and prevent further violations.

As a country that had voluntarily renounced its own nuclear arsenal and has been strictly abiding by its obligations related to nonproliferation of nuclear materials, technologies and their means of delivery, we are convinced that a world without nuclear weapons should remain a real policy goal for all concerned parties and not a theoretical concept, which is sneered at by some.

If nuclear powers are serious about nuclear non-proliferation and eventual disarmament, they could strengthen global non-proliferation regime immensely by making nuclear disarmament a success story.

Based on Ukraine’s experience of confronting aggression from the nuclear state, this aspect is of particular importance to my country. The brutal violation of the international obligations, including under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, by the permanent member of this Council, who put its signature under the assurances of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, contravenes the whole UN based security system created after World War II.

The international community has collective responsibility to restore respect for international law and to find lasting solutions to the most urgent threats to global peace and security. The North Korea issue is a test case for us today. Our success in resolving it may open ways to address other pressing problems on the world’s stage.

I thank you.