Delivered by: His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative
I thank Assistant Secretary-General Khiari for his informative briefing, and I welcome the participation of both the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in today’s meeting.
The United Arab Emirates strongly condemns yet another unlawful intercontinental ballistic missile launch by the DPRK on 18 December. The missile was reportedly the solid-fueled Hwasong-18, signaling further advancements in the DPRK’s capabilities.
As 2023 draws to an end, we are mindful that the DPRK has become increasingly emboldened and threatening – both to its neighbours as well as to the broader international community.
We are disappointed that, throughout the two years that the UAE has served on the Council, a series of meetings and attempted products have been the sum total of the Council’s action on this file. This is in spite of the fact that the DPRK’s actions continue to gravely endanger international peace and security and undermine the global non-proliferation regime.
Undoubtedly, the DPRK’s missile tests and satellite launches over the past two years are directly linked to the implementation of its 2021 five-year military plan and the advancement of its nuclear weapons program. The DPRK has amplified its nuclear rhetoric and adopted a constitutional amendment that further solidifies its policy on nuclear forces. As this Council has repeatedly heard, the DPRK consistently demonstrates its intention to pursue nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in direct violation of Security Council resolutions.
The latest launch is not an isolated incident, but a continuation of the DPRK’s pattern of defiance against international law. This year alone, there have been 28 missile tests, including several of intercontinental range.
The DPRK’s failure to provide advance notice for its missile tests constitutes reckless behavior, elevating the risk of accidental or miscalculated incidents. This not only endangers international civil aviation and maritime traffic, but also poses an imminent threat to civilians.
In the face of these challenges, it is imperative that diplomatic efforts and dialogue intensify to address the situation. The Council must unite in urging the DPRK to return to the negotiating table without preconditions, to commit to complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization, and to reengage with international treaties and obligations, including the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Amidst these security challenges, it is crucial not to overlook the dire humanitarian situation within the DPRK. We urge Pyongyang to facilitate the expedited and unimpeded return of international aid organizations and UN staff, including the Resident Coordinator, to the country.
The Security Council must act if we are to effectively address the threat posed by the DPRK and nuclear proliferation. It is vital that members of this Council work together to present a united front against such violations of international law and work tirelessly towards peace and stability throughout the Korean Peninsula.
Thank you, Mr. President.