Delivered by Ms. Ghasaq Shaheen, Political Coordinator
I thank the co-chairs for giving me the floor as well as the briefers for the information they shared with us today.
The UAE remains very concerned about the unstable situation in the Korean Peninsula. Actions taken by the DPRK continue to threaten international peace and regional stability. The DPRK’s increased testing and development of ballistic missiles, including yet another intercontinental ballistic missile test only yesterday, are in flagrant violation of UN Security Council resolutions on this matter.
In addition to these inflammatory provocations and escalatory actions taken by the DPRK, it is also gravely concerning to witness the dire conditions endured by the people of North Korea as the DPRK relentlessly continues in its quest to develop its nuclear weapons programme. North Koreans are forced to pay for the country’s advancement of its military and nuclear proliferation activities.
In 2021, the Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that approximately 10.7 million North Koreans were undernourished and required emergency relief due to a wide range of factors, including poor crop yields, economic difficulties, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The absence of international access to the DPRK creates obstacles in assessing and verifying the current situation and its impacts on the ground.
Nevertheless, it seems that instead of using the country’s limited resources to feed the hungry, the DPRK has prioritized its spending on nuclear and missile programs. Even as the DPRK experiences its most severe food insecurity levels since the 1990s, Pyongyang has diverted its country’s precious resources to test over 90 missiles, including ballistic missiles, in 2022 alone.
UN reports indicate that military spending has consistently been prioritized over ensuring basic access to food, even during periods of mass starvation. Reports suggest that the state has used starvation as a means of mass control; in turn, this has helped enable the DPRK’s illegal nuclear and missile program.
Reports of ongoing and longstanding widespread human rights violations in the DPRK remain deeply concerning. The UAE has closely monitored the discussions on this issue across other UN fora, specifically in the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly. To this end, the UAE has voted in favor of relevant Human Rights Council and General Assembly resolutions concerning human rights in the DPRK.
The UAE takes this opportunity to once again ore This also includes issues such as the abductions and disappearances of persons from neighboring nations, particularly Japan and the Republic of Korea.
The UAE believes that as a member of the international community the DPRK must uphold its obligations under international law, cease its current violations which continue to endanger regional and international peace and security, at simultaneously prioritize the welfare of its population.
Finally, while we acknowledge that the 1718 Committee’s expedited humanitarian exemption process has helped in addressing the dire humanitarian situation in the DPRK, we also note that other circumstances continue to impede an adequate response to both the humanitarian and human rights situation in North Korea. We urge the DPRK to cooperate with the UN and other stakeholders on this issue. The UAE remains committed to support the efforts of the international community to assist the people of North Korea during this challenging time.