Thank you, President. I also thank ASG Jencča for his briefing today, and welcome the participation of the Republic of Korea.
The UK condemns the launch by the DPRK of a further intercontinental ballistic missile on 16 March. This was the DPRK’s tenth ICBM launch since the start of 2022.
Make no mistake. This missile wasn’t designed, built, deployed and launched overnight. The DPRK first displayed this type in 2020. It has been tested multiple times since in a long-planned development process, in defiance of this Council’s decisions, and shielded by two of its members.
Those same members may seek to equate lawful defensive military exercises with the DPRK’s actions. Let’s be clear. Defensive exercises are safe when they are notified to other states in advance, and when they operate within defined areas, as South Korean and US exercises have done.
We should protect the credibility of this Council by challenging these violations with a firm and united response. Five years of inaction, forced on the Council by two members, have left no one safer. Now is the time for a comprehensive resolution that addresses international security concerns with new targeted measures, while also setting conditions for renewed dialogue, and facilitating aid.
We should recall that the cost of these illicit launches is being borne by the North Korean people, whose government diverts resources from peoples’ basic economic needs toward its illegal weapons programme. We call on the DPRK to allow UN international staff to enter the country. Sanctions exemptions are in place to support expedited humanitarian assistance.
We again call on all member states to fully implement existing Resolutions, which all Council members voted for multiple times, to counter the continued development of the DPRK’s prohibited programmes.
Finally, President, we call on the DPRK to cease these launches and engage meaningfully with offers from the United States and the Republic of Korea of dialogue. Diplomacy is the only route to sustained peace on the peninsula.