Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at UNSC briefing on the DPRK
We thank Mr. Khaled Khiari for the briefing.
Russia is opposed to any military activity that poses threats to the security of the Korean peninsula and North-East Asian states.
We note with regret that in the recent months, the situation around the Korean peninsula has tended towards escalation. Since August this year. the United States and its allies in the region have resumed large-scale military training in that part of the globe. At the end of September, for the first time in five years, the United States, the Republic of Korea, and Japan held a joint military exercise in the Sea of Japan, where a nuclear missile carrier took part, which was trained to target critical facilities in the DPRK. Leaders of those countries have been talking rather irresponsibly about deployment of US deterrents (i.a. nuclear) on the Korean peninsula and in the region. We regret that this factual information was not mentioned in the briefing by the distinguished UN representative. In light of these facts, it is obvious that missile launches by Pyongyang were a response to the short-sighted confrontational military activities of the US taking place around the DPRK. These activities also affect partners of the United States in the region and the situation in North-East Asia at large.
Furthermore, the situation on the Korean peninsula cannot be considered separately from the complicated processes which are currently taking place in this part of the world. And we cannot but note the persistent pushing forward by Washington of their unilateral security doctrine in Asia Pacific, which only creates new risks for the countries in the region and is trying to divide them according to the principle “if you're not with us, you're against us”. Creating new military alliances, like that of the United States, Great Britain, and Australia – the so-called AUKUS – is part of this activity, which makes other stakeholders, including Pyongyang, doubt whether those states truly have benevolent intentions. This is definitely not conducive to dialogue.
Here in the Security Council chamber, we often hear member states saying that preventive diplomacy cannot be replaced, that conflicts cannot be resolved militarily, and that political and diplomatic ways of addressing incendiary situations must be prioritized. Those are important words which reflect the essence of the UN Charter. But when it comes to our Western colleagues, they emphasize these methods only where they have an opportunity to interfere into someone's internal affairs. But when we talk about the regions where their geopolitical interests are truly at stake, then condemnation, pressure and sabre-rattling come to the fore.
The United States and Western countries, have long refused the DPRK belonging to the so-called “civilized world”. Out of all entrees on the “menu”, Pyongyang has been offered only one – sanctions.
Starting from 2006, a large number of restrictive measures were placed on Pyongyang on the US initiative, one stronger than the other. But as years passed, it became very clear that the sanctions paradigm failed to ensure security in the region, nor could it bring us closer to the settlement of all the issues of related to nuclear non-proliferation.
We deeply regret that our Western colleagues have consistently ignored the numerous appeals by Pyongyang to the United States to stop its hostile activity, which would have opened a window for dialogue. But this was not taken seriously. In 2018-2019, Pyongyang made some accommodating steps and sent positive signals, but again, none of those were heeded. It was because of the United States position that the Council could not react to those steps properly and in doing so contribute to easing tensions.
We have stated many times and repeat now that imposing further sanctions of the DPRK is a dead-end road. In North Korea’s case, this measure yields no result whatsoever.
Mechanisms of the United Nations and its Security Council need to be used to support the inter-Korean dialogue and multilateral negotiations, rather than become an impediment to them. It is only then that we will be able to talk about effectively resolving outstanding issues in the region, including the nuclear issue, on the basis of mutually acceptable agreements. Further increase in sanctions against DPRK is going beyond being just a measure to counter the banned missile and nuclear programs and is threatening the citizens of North Korea with unacceptable socio-economic and humanitarian upheavals.
In conclusion let me stress again that our today’s task is to make sure that all sides exercise restraint and prove their commitment to resuming dialogue in the spirit of earlier agreements and obligations. Russian-Chinese humanitarian initiatives remain on the table. Those could encourage all sides to increase their negotiation efforts. The lack of progress at the political track and the refusal of some member states, Western states in the first place, to make a step forward and facilitate the adoption by the Security Council of a well-balanced and comprehensive solution is why the UNSC appears unable to take action on this issue.
Such a stance, together with an increase by the United States and their allies of measures of military nature, risks escalating tensions on the peninsula, which can lead to unpredictable and very dangerous consequences for the whole of North-East Asia.
Right of reply:
Let me respond to the remarks of the representative of the United States and make the following point.
Unlike the United States, Russia does border on North Korea and is very much concerned over the dangerous developments around the Korean peninsula. This makes us consider this entire situation in a holistic and responsible manner. I disagree with your conclusions that we want to shift responsibilities or distort the facts. This is not the purpose of our statement. We just draw attention to the erroneous and dangerous policy of the US which clearly is not working. Of course, one can say that military drills where nuclear missile carriers are trained to target critical facilities on the territory of the DPRK are purely defense-oriented exercises. One can say that alliances involving nuclear submarines are friendly and peaceful, purely defensive alliances. You can call them that. We have already heard them called this way – it was in other parts of the globe. But to us, it is obvious that as long as regional alliances build up military power, as long as you follow the provocative course in military affairs – Pyongyang will respond. The risks of reciprocal action will only be growing. We are convinced that the only way to resolve the issue around the Korean peninsula is to engage in a dialogue and search for political solutions that should account for the legitimate concerns, including security concerns, of all sides.