Remarks by Ambassador Koro Bessho, Ambassador Samantha Power and

Ambassador Oh Joon, Following Security Council Consultations on DPRK

3 August 2016



Ambassador Koro Bessho: I would like to say a few words about the DPRK launch of a ballistic missile. I am very happy to have with me the US ambassador and the ROK ambassador and we have worked together on this all along, and this shows solidarity on our part.

As you know, the North Korean launch which happened yesterday, we jointly asked for an urgent meeting of the Security Council, and we are very happy that the President responded to that immediately so we could have this meeting from 4:00 this afternoon. I stressed that this is totally unacceptable action on the part of DPRK, the missile launch landed within Japan’s EEZ, exclusive economic zone. There was no warning whatsoever. We see it as a grave violation of, certainly, the resolutions of the Security Council that have been passed before, but it is certainly a major, major problem for the security and safety of our region, so we strongly condemn the launch.

Now, as I said, it landed in the EEZ, that is the first time it happened, and this is a new step in their development of nuclear and missile capabilities, so in the Council I stressed the importance of this and gravity of this launch, and asked for my colleagues to be united in showing the will of the Security Council, and to send a strong message to the outside world and to DPRK, especially. I felt that members expressed their condemnation of the launch, and I was also very heartened by many members expressing their solidarity with the people of Japan. I’ll stop there and ask my colleagues to say a few more words.



Ambassador Samantha Power: Thank you. So we’ve just met as you’ve heard on the latest violation of UN Security Council resolutions by the DPRK, the most recent provocation, another grave threat to international peace and security, another effort by DPRK to enhance its menacing capabilities.

Putting this in some context, recent context, it’s worth noting that since the last time we met here to discussion North Korea’s actions in late June, North Korea has launched ballistic missiles on other occasions, on July 9th from a submarine and two more on July 19. I just want to flag the rhetoric that accompanied the July 19th launch, which was extremely alarming even by DPRK’s standards. The North Korean Official News Agency said those launches simulated preemptive nuclear strikes on South Korean ports and air fields hosting a US presence, and that they were launched at the direct personal order of Kim Jong-Un. And then last night, as you know, we confirmed North Korea launched two more ballistic missiles. The first missile failed, the second flew further than any other North Korean missile had flown this year, landing within 300km of Japan’s west coast; within 250KM of Japan’s west coast.

I think my Japanese and Korean colleagues can speak movingly about what this means to, and for, the region and for the people in their countries, and I just want to stress the necessity of a strong and swift response from the Security Council and a reminder that this missile landed incredibly closely to Japan and this program and its continued advancement poses a threat that goes well beyond any particular country, and that is what the Security Council has enshrined, most recently in March in Resolution 2270, these actions are a challenge to peace and security, they are a challenge to the founding instruments of the United Nations, which emphasize the importance of peace and security. So we are going to continue to push for the full implementation of Resolution 2270, you all know that we did not expect an overnight result with a resolution that ambitious and that complex. And I will state here what I stated back at the time of the unanimous passage of that resolution, which is implementation and enforcement are everything. And enforcement means not only making sure that we crack down on anybody who is sanctions busting and evading, but also that when you get violations of resolutions, that the Council stands together on behalf of its own words and on behalf of international peace and security.



Ambassador Oh Joon: Well I’d just like to start by thanking my colleagues, Ambassadors Samantha Power and Koro Bessho for dealing with this issue in the Security Council in a timely manner, not least because my country is no longer sitting on the Council, because they already mentioned the gravity of this particular violation, this particular launch. I would like to point out that this year alone, North Korea, DPRK, conducted 13 rounds of missile tests, ballistic missile tests, and they test fired altogether 29 missiles of a variety of types, ranges and trajectories, including intermediate range missiles, short range missiles, using our mobile launchers, using submarine launching technology. So obviously by now what they are doing is not just separate random missile tests. I think they are doing all of this with a systematic comprehensive purpose of upgrading and refining their missile technologies, which is not only a grave challenge to the global non-proliferation system, but also poses clear and present danger to the security of all countries in the region, not only to three countries present here, but other countries as well. So it is definitely in the interest of all countries in the region to stop this dangerous series of provocations immediately.


Question: Ambassador Power last time you were here and spoke to us about DPRK you mentioned that the United States would seek to identify people linked to these ballistic missile tests and possibly propose them for UN sanctions. Can you update us on that? Also I believe that after the July 9th submarine missile draft Council statement was circulated, it went to Beijing and it was never heard from again. What are the prospects of getting a statement today or in the near future?


Ambassador Power: Let me just say that in order to move forward with identifying and designating individuals associated with the program, under Resolution 2270, we need a  Council consensus, and that is something that we have at our disposal here to see whether or not there are individuals we can get the Council to agree upon. As you know, always some diversity of perspective of designations and their utility in a particular moment, but certainly we believe that the more robust the Security Council is in response to just this brazen sequence of violations, the more that we will affect North Korea’s calculus, just as we believe, again, that we all need collectively to up our enforcement game as it relates to Resolution 2270. In terms of how we respond in the moment to something as grave as this, what we heard, as you heard from the Japanese Ambassador in the Council, was very encouraging, strong condemnations across the board from individual member states. So we have every reason to believe that the Council will be able to come together in a swift and united way to condemn this, again, just the latest launches in defiance of Council will.


Question: Ambassador Bessho, could you elaborate the prospect for the next statement against DPRK?


Ambassador Bessho: Well, thank you very much.  I think Ambassador Power said it all in a way, we had a very condensed, active discussion on the subject today. There were many views expressed and it was not just one round, I think we had an interactive discussion which I thought was useful. Again, we feel very strongly that a specific and strong message needs to be sent to the international community, and I hope we can have an agreement on that ASAP, but I don’t have any at this specific moment.


Question: The Chinese Ambassador, as he was leaving, called this a very serious situation and said that one thing that also needed to be looked at were what’s causing the DPRK to carry out these missile launches. I wondered if you could comment on that. And on the question of what kind of a product we might expect and when? Is somebody drafting, like the United States, drafting a press statement, a Presidential Statement, could we see another resolution?


Ambassador Bessho: Well, your first point. As far as this launch is concerned, I don’t think it was any action taken to invite this, so you have to ask DPRK why they are doing it, but from our point of view, it was totally out of the ordinary norm of international actions or diplomacy, and this is why we are strongly condemning the launch. I don’t think I can think of any justification for them doing this.

Question: Was the THAAD deployment discussed? The deployment of the THAAD missiles in South Korea? Did it come up?

Ambassador Bessho: No, I don’t think so.

Question: The Chinese ambassador said there needs to be dialogue with North Korea, what else is left there for dialogue? How can you move forward from this now?


Ambassador Bessho: Well, we are not talking about a solution by force; in the end we need a solution by dialogue, if both sides can meet in a serious way. We are not seeing the North Koreans come to the table in a serious way, but obviously would my colleagues like to make further comments?

Ambassador Oh: Well I think dialogue - idea of dialogue was there already when we reached agreement, we meaning the Six-Party Talks ten years ago, eleven years ago, reached an agreement on a comprehensive agreement of DPRK’s nuclear issue. If you read it carefully, there was everything including dialogue, including improvement of relations between DPRK and other countries. So, when we go back to the talks; that should be about the denuclearization of the DPRK. Then we can always go back to dialogue. So dialogue is there as an idea, but right there, if they continue with their provocations, it’s not possible to go back to dialogue, their situation.

Ambassador Power: I think because it’s come up a couple times, it’s worth responding to this idea of this grave violation itself somehow being a response. The actions that we have taken with the Republic of Korea are purely defensive. They are about protecting the people of South Korea, protecting alliance forces who are stationed in the Republic of Korea, and they are focused, in the case of a THAAD system, focused squarely on ballistic missile defense as it relates to the threat posed by the country that we have gathered yet again to discuss.

So, these defensive measures come about because, as you all know as well as we do, again and again you see the DPRK seeking to enhance its capabilities, firing short and medium range ballistic missiles, failing sometimes, refining capabilities, succeeding in firing them farther and farther, and we, the United States and the Republic of Korea and all of us who are allied, have a responsibility to our citizens to ensure that we can defend against this threat.

So, any suggestion that, or any justification, any notion that there is some predicate by anybody other than by Kim Jong-Un and the DPRK regime is not grounded in reality and is not grounded in history.

Thank you.



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