Thank you, Mr. President.
Japan welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2371. We would like to express our appreciation to the United States for taking the lead. We also thank all other members of the Council for their support and for the hard work to make this possible.
The need for the Security Council to strongly condemn North Korea’s nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches has considerably grown in the past year and a half. Since January 2016, North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests and launched approximately 40 ballistic missiles. The sheer number and frequency show how unprecedented and unacceptable these provocations are.
Not only is the quantity outrageous, the qualitative advancements are also deeply alarming. Just last month, we saw two ballistic missile launches with intercontinental range. The second launch was already more technologically advanced than the first.
The footage broadcast on Japanese television of the most recent launch showed that it was visible with the naked eye in Hokkaido as it fell into the sea off the coast of Japan. If it had not been such a lofted launch, the missile range would have covered half the globe. It is abundantly clear that this is not merely a regional threat but an imminent global threat to all Member States.
North Korea seems determined to continue its nuclear build-up. In March 2016, the Security Council responded to the fourth nuclear test by adopting resolution 2270, the most comprehensive to that date, with a clear message to North Korea that it must halt its nuclear development. After the fifth nuclear test in September 2016, the Security Council sent an even stronger message via resolution 2321.
Nevertheless, North Korea has continued to ignore the calls of the international community by obstinately forging ahead with its nuclear and missile development programmes. This has led to the adoption of resolution 2371 today. The resolution is very impactful, and will reduce the revenue of the North Korean regime by approximately 1 billion dollars. This robust resolution is an urgent call for North Korea to change its behavior.
It is clear to everyone at this point that North Korea is nowhere near to resuming a meaningful dialogue.
In order to change North Korea’s behavior, we have no choice but to continue to increase pressure. All members of the United Nations must demonstrate renewed commitment to rigorously and thoroughly implementing the existing Security Council resolutions, including the one we just adopted.
Japan will continue to work very closely with Council members and all other Member States to reach a comprehensive solution to the problems related to North Korea.