Statement by Ambassador Leendertse in the UN General Assembly at the 77th plenary meeting on strengthening the United Nations system, 8 June 2022
Let me start by recalling the unanimous decision of 26 April by the General Assembly to hold meetings whenever a veto is cast in the Security Council. This is a great success for the General Assembly in strengthening its role within the UN system, in making vetoes more transparent and -hopefully- in contributing to a more responsible use of the veto. While we still have a long way to go in the Intergouvernmental Negotiations to make the Security Council reflect the realities of the 21st century, Germany welcomes the new mechanism as a much needed step in bringing transparency and accountability to the work of the Security Council.
Article 24 of the UN Charter states that the Security Council bears the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It also says that in discharging these duties the Security Council should act in accordance with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations.
We therefore expect the Security Council to act when there is a clear, egregious and persistent breech to peace and security. And it is in opposition to the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations if two Council Members refuse to act on this responsibility.
Unfortunately, this is what happened. Over many months, we have witnessed an unprecedented series of ballistic missile tests by the DPRK with increasingly versatile systems across all ranges, including Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM), - the latest of which were launched this weekend. These tests undermine international peace and security as well as the global non-proliferation regime. They also pose a danger and unpredictable risk to international civil aviation and maritime navigation in the region.
Together with the evidence of ongoing nuclear activities, these reckless actions show that the DPRK is further advancing and diversifying its nuclear capabilities – all flagrant breaches of the DPRK’s obligations under many relevant UN Security Council resolutions. The situation could not be clearer. The DPRK has a legal obligation to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions. And it is the Security Council’s responsibility to make sure that its decisions are adhered to. Its credibility depends on this. Our security depends on this.
I deeply regret that the Security Council has failed to adopt the draft resolution aimed at condemning the series of recent ballistic missile launches by the DPRK and at strengthening measures against it - despite support from 13 Security Council members. I deeply regret that Russia and China are shielding the DPRK from international scrutiny and are thus allowing and condoning its illegal, reckless and dangerous actions.
Let me be clear: in resolution 2397 (2017), OP 28, the Security Council unanimously expressed its “determination to take further significant measures” and made a formal decision that it would “take action to restrict further the export to the DPRK of petroleum” in the event of an ICBM test. By placing their veto, Russia and China violate this decision. This is all the more shocking since the permanent members of the Security Council have a special responsibility to uphold the non-proliferation regime that the DPRK continues to flout.
UN Member States expect better from the Council, from Council members. They expect the Security Council to condemn the DPRK´s behavior and to reaffirm its obligation to abandon its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programmes. We expect a united stance and further significant measures by the Security Council.
I urge the DPRK to come clean and finally comply with Council decisions: to abandon its unlawful Weapon of Mass Destruction and ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner – and to engage in meaningful negotiations over this.
And I urge Russia and China to reverse course and to live up to their responsibility to maintain international peace and security. We need a strong and united response from the Security Council to prevent further reckless action by the DPRK.