Delivered By: Her Excellency Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
I thank Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo for her informative briefing and we welcome the participation of the Republic of Korea in today’s meeting.
The UAE joins the Secretary-General in his strong condemnation of the military satellite launch by the DPRK.
These events are of grave concern.
Though the satellite launch rocket failed on 31 May local time, DPRK officials have vowed to undertake a second launch as soon as possible.
We reiterate that any launch by the DPRK using ballistic missile technology has been prohibited by the Security Council, and we strongly urge them to desist from their unlawful, dangerous, and provocative activities.
The UAE would like to emphasise the following points regarding this latest launch:
First, civilians cannot continue to be at the mercy of the ongoing threats.
We note that some advance warning of the intended satellite launch was provided on this most recent occasion. This may have reduced risks to neighbouring countries to some degree, but such warnings neither legitimise nor minimise the illegality of the DPRK’s launch.
The fear and danger imposed on the people of the Republic of Korea and Japan as a result of these actions is unacceptable and unjustifiable. We stand in solidarity with the governments and people of these countries, and the wider region.
Second, we reiterate our call for the DPRK to comply with Security Council resolutions and international law.
The UAE recognizes that satellites can be used by states for peaceful purposes. However, due to past actions, the Council has prohibited the DPRK from any launches using ballistic missile technology – regardless of its goal, because such launches may help accelerate its illegal WMD program.
Reporting suggests that the objective of this most recent launch was to put the DPRK’s first military reconnaissance satellite into orbit. We are reminded of the pledge the country’s leader has made to accelerate its so-called five-year military plan to – in the words of the DPRK – “fight a war at the highest level”.
This is of great concern considering the nuclear weapons and intercontinental capabilities which the DPRK has been developing at pace.
We call on the DPRK to return to diplomacy and dialogue for talks in any format. Enacting a complete, verifiable, and irreversible path to denuclearization, including a return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty without delay, must be the way forward for the DPRK and the international community.
The IAEA’s role in verifying these objectives is critical. The DPRK should adhere to the IAEA’s safeguards and allow for the agency’s inspectors to return to the country.
Third, the UAE remains deeply troubled by the humanitarian situation in the DPRK.
Reports of a worsening food shortage, coupled with severe weather conditions and the country’s decision to keep its borders closed to humanitarian organisations is estimated to put as much as 60 percent of the DPRK population at grave risk of malnutrition. This has purportedly increased by 20 percent in the last three years.
We regret that despite the DPRK’s request for food aid back in March this year, the UN has not been permitted to return to the country – a basic requirement for UN aid programming. Ultimately, it is the people of the DPRK who are suffering and we urge the government to invite humanitarian organizations back to the country to provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance.
It is the people of the DPRK who require the Council’s support at this time.
To conclude, we recall that when the Council was united on this issue in the past, it was capable of curbing the DPRK’s unlawful pursuit of nuclear weapons. The UAE urges the Council to find such unity again and speak with one voice to address this situation.