Thank you, Mr. President
I would like to begin by thanking the President for convening this urgent meeting, jointly requested by the US, the ROK and Japan. I thank Mr. Feltman for the briefing. I also thank Ambassador Cardi as chair of the 1718 committee for the presentation of the 90-day report to the Council.
On November 29th, North Korea once again completely ignored the repeated calls of the international community to abandon its nuclear and missile development programmes, and launched another ballistic missile with the range of ICBM in flagrant violation of relevant Security Council resolutions.
North Korea later claimed that it conducted a successful launch of the new ICBM Hwasong-15 with “technical capabilities far superior to the previous Hwasong-14.” North Korea even stated that they can load the heaviest warhead and strike anywhere in the mainland United States.
This launch is totally unacceptable. Japan lodged a strong protest against North Korea immediately after the launch and condemned the act in the strongest terms. Japan demands that North Korea immediately cease all ballistic missile and nuclear development programmes and provocations. Japan will never tolerate a nuclear-armed North Korea.
The missile reached the highest-ever apogee of well over 4,000km, flew for 53 minutes and fell within the Japanese EEZ, approximately 250km west of Aomori Prefecture. Local fishery association hastened to check safety of all the fishing vessels that were operating in the sea at the time of the launch. We were lucky that nobody got hurt. However, it does not change the fact that this was an extremely dangerous and irresponsible act by North Korea.
This ballistic missile launch with the range of ICBM was the third of its kind this year. Considering its estimated range, it has become abundantly clear that this is not merely a regional threat but a clear global threat to all Member States.
This most recent provocation made it ever more evident that North Korea is nowhere near ready to give up its nuclear programmes, nor is it interested in coming back to a meaningful dialogue. There is no other choice but for us to work together to put maximum pressure on North Korea so that it alters its course of action and works toward denuclearization.
Due to this new launch, some Security Council members may feel frustrated that the sanctions do not seem to be working yet. However, the full implementation of all the existing Security Council resolutions including the recently adopted 2371 and 2375 can bring about significant impact on North Korea’s calculus. It is extremely important for the Council to urge all Member States to fully implement the relevant resolutions. Without faithful implementation, we cannot achieve the intended policy change of North Korea.
We should also not lose sight of the fact that it is the North Korean regime that is diverting its resources into pursuing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles instead of the welfare of its people while people in North Korea have great unmet needs.
We must send a clear, consistent message that it is North Korea that needs to change.
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.
I thank you, Mr. President.