(Rough transcript)


Remarks by Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative to the United Nations of Japan,
Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and
Ambassador Oh Joon, Permanent Representative to the United Nations of the Republic of Korea, at

the Security Council Stakeout Following the Adoption of Resolution 2321

30 November 2016



Ambassador Power: Good morning everybody. Thank you for joining us today, as you see here the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan remain as united as ever in response to the DPRK’s most recent nuclear test and its unprecedented campaign of ballistic missile launches this summer. Since the September 9th nuclear test we have remained in constant contact to formulate a strong response. I took the highly unusual step myself after consulting with my colleagues here, to even travel to Seoul and to Tokyo so we could deepen the consultations in capitals about what the most critical measures were that we could take as the Council to work to end the egregious, blatant, brazen violations of international law that recur by virtue of the actions of DPRK.


Today’s resolution, as many of you know, because you’ve been waiting for it for a while, is the product of nearly twelve painstaking weeks of diplomacy and it results in a further tightening of the strongest sanctions regime the Security Council has imposed on any country in more than a generation. Resolution 2321 sends a clear message to North Korea that the Security Council is united. We are united in continuing to impose even stronger sanctions on the country’s international trade, financial transactions and weapons-related programs. For years, we’ve seen DPRK flouting international law, building out its capabilities in violation of its international obligations, which nobody challenges are its obligations.


These programs directly threaten the security of the United States and our close allies, Japan and the Republic of Korea. To put today’s vote in some historical context, from the DPRK’s very first nuclear test ten years ago, we have responded to this threat through a combination of pressure, like the resolution we just adopted, and our openness to having credible and authentic dialogue with North Korea on denuclearization. So long as the DPRK makes the choice it has made, which is to pursue the path of violations instead of the path of dialogue, we will continue to work together to increase the pressure and to take other reasonable steps to defend ourselves and our allies from this threat.


You’ve heard in the Council what this resolution does, I’m sure many of you have studied it yourself; I just want to run through very quickly some of the key highlights. First, particularly by virtue of the coal provisions and others that affect North Korea’s hard currency revenue, Resolution 2321 will reduce the hard currency that the DPRK has to advance its programs and that it has used to advance its programs, by approximately $800 million dollars per year. It’s very important also that the resolution targets the DPRK’s use of its diplomats to funnel in financial resources to fund its nefarious programs.


In another first, very unusual provision, the resolution threatens as a potential consequence the suspension of some or all of the DPRK’s rights and privileges here at the United Nations if it continues to defy its obligations as a UN Member State. It is also extremely important that this resolution includes provisions for the first time that call on the DPRK to respect the inherent dignity of the people in the DPRK. This is not something, of course, that this regime does, but it’s also not something that this Council has been prepared to include in a resolution before, and it is significant.


There’s much more, you’re familiar with most of it, my colleagues will speak, I’m sure, on  other provisions, but this resolution and these provisions will significantly increase the pressure on DPRK to change course. However, as with past UN Security Council resolutions, we know that implementation is everything. All Member States are obliged to enforce the sanctions contained in this resolution scrupulously, and in the spirit of the resolution’s intentions, to cut off even further the North Korean regime’s ability to fund its senseless weapons programs, programs that it pursues daily, hourly at the expense at the welfare of its own people. I thank you, and I will turn the floor over to Ambassador Bessho. Thank you.


Ambassador Bessho: Thank you very much. First of all I’d like to thank Ambassador Power for her leadership in bringing us to this day. We have been able to unanimously adopt a resolution which is a very robust one, a very meaningful one, and I’m very glad that Samantha played a key role in bringing this about. I am very grateful to her. I am also grateful to Ambassador Oh Joon for his supportive, very important leadership role. Since you may have heard, in the chamber, Ambassador Oh himself said that he’s finishing his term here and flying out of New York today. I would like to thank him dearly for the great work that he’s done in and outside the Council, but especially concerning the question of the denuclearization of North Korea. And although these personnel changes occur, one thing I can say is that, as Ambassador Power said, the solidarity between our three countries, the United States, Republic of Korea and Japan are as firm as ever, and it will continue to be very solid.


Having said that I will just say a few words on the resolution itself. As I said, it is a firm and solid resolution, building upon the resolution we had before, 2270, we felt it could still be strengthened so that is why we were able to bring in measures to restrict, constrain, DPRK from acquiring resources and technology to continue with their nuclear and missile development. We think that what has been agreed on is very important and we hope that the total membership of the United Nations will comply and help us in this work that is most important. It has also pointed out to the, as also Ambassador Power has already pointed out, the sacrifice to the people in DPRK that is imposed while carrying out the nuclear and missile development, the human rights-humanitarian situation in DPRK is dire, including the question of abductions, which is a very important question for Japan.


As was said by many Council members, we are introducing the sanctions not for the sake of introducing sanctions, but in order to change the course of DPRK policy. If DPRK shows commitment to denuclearization, serious commitment, and concrete actions, we are certainly ready to come into dialogue with them and to try to solve the situation. But until that happens, we feel that this pressure is necessary, and I hope that all United Nations Member States will work together to make sure that DPRK will move in that desired direction. Thank you very much.


Ambassador Oh: Thank you very much, Samantha and Koro. I would first like to thank both of you, especially starting with Ambassador Power. Samantha, I think, I know, that without your untiring efforts, your devotion to this issue, the resolution we had today would not have been possible. Also, Ambassador Koro Bessho, even though he is relatively new, he came from his three year posting in Korea, so he knows the issue very well. His role and his efforts have been instrumental in getting the resolution today. So I’d like to thank both of them.


I have already spoken what I wanted in the council so I guess you already heard it. Somehow this is my departure date, I am flying out tonight, and it gives me some thoughts which I shared with the members of the Security Council earlier, and the only thing I want to add is that for North Korea itself, I think trying to resolve this issue through non-military sanction measures is good, even for the DPRK itself, because they cannot last too long under this level of sanctions regime. This is a very strong, robust regime, and no country in my opinion can last too long under these kinds of sanctions. If your export is cut down by a quarter by the sanctions, how can you go on? The economy, even if North Korea is very secluded and cut off from the rest of the world, no country is an island. North Korea is not an island either. So for themselves, I think they should forego their nuclear program and come back to us for talks, and for dialogue to settle this issue once and for all and to go for peace and prosperity, not only on the Korean peninsula, but in the region and the world as a whole. Thank you.


Question:  Three quick questions: Why did this take so long? And, China accused the United States and others in the region of intensifying confrontation on the peninsula by some of their actions? And, any advice for the new U.S. administration on how to deal with North Korea?


Ambassador Power: Well, I think one even quick glance at the resolution should give you some indication of how complex and how ambitious its provisions are. And for a lot of the key stakeholders involved ,there are a vast number of technical experts in their governments, vast complex interagency processes, the complexity of the very important coal provisions are just one example of that, figuring out not only what an agreed-upon way forward can be, but how to make it implementable so that the desired effects could be achieved, and how to work with the sanctions committee and so forth. So it’s just very complex, and very challenging given some of the different perspectives that people bring to this crisis and to the balance that needs to be struck across a range of areas, but I think not a day was wasted, and it really was the case that we worked the duration of these three months in very close consultation with our allies. And again, I credit China for seriousness of purpose throughout the entire three months of this process.


Let me just focus on why we’re here, which is that North Korea is the only country to test a nuclear weapon in the 21st century, North Korea has tested two nuclear devices this calendar year, it has tested more than two dozen ballistic missile devices which it openly boasts about as a delivery system for its nuclear weapons program. So I think it’s very clear where the threat exists and very clear why any responsible actor that looks out for the welfare of its own citizens, an actor like the United States that has been threatened by name on innumerable occasions, and an actor that looks out for its closest allies, would take very significant defensive precautions and ensure that we are prepared to deal with a threat that makes itself known brazenly, jumps up and down to advertise itself as a threat constantly.


In terms of the next administration, I won’t speculate at all on what its approach to any policy issue will be, but I will say that this threat is a very, very significant and serious threat, but also this Security Council is one of the most critical tools that we have in responding to that threat, in addition to what we do bilaterally, in addition to what we do through defense, and in addition to our emphasis, of course, on getting back to negotiations under appropriate circumstances. But recognizing the strength of alliances as a means of countering the most pernicious threats in the international order, I think, is going to be a cornerstone of American foreign policy for time and memorial.


Question:  I think each of you have mentioned the new resolution is a robust sanction regime, but I’m just wondering how effective the resolution is to make Kim Jong Un to change his mind, I mean to abandon the nuclear program. What’s your take on it?


Ambassador Bessho:  I think Ambassador Power had already pointed out some of the features of the new resolution, I think it’s very clear that it’s a system which has built on an already robust resolution of 2270. We feel that the resolution points to areas where there were possibilities remaining after 2270 for DPRK to get resources, financial resources, technologies, and try to make sure that that is no longer the case. So I think that’s important. Again we are sending a very strong message to DPRK, and if the UN Member States can work together, and that is a very important point, I’m sure it will have its desired effect. How long it will take or in which form it will take, that is not for me to predict at this moment, but I’m sure it is a very impressive and effective tool that we have been able to achieve today.


Question: Ambassador Oh Joon said that he will get the flight tonight to finish his term, and I think also Ambassador Power will be as your term is finish in a few months. You both worked together to stop the North Korean provocation for several years here with Security Council, but this resolution of today is focusing on make over 2270 that you said the strongest, the most robust resolution through the UN Security Council history, and to support, make sure the running of 2270. In other words, that means the strongest resolution, 2270, would not be successful so far. After six months, North Korea did another nuclear test, and so those kinds of things developed a kind of doubt of UN Security Council resolutions so far, even though you said this is the strongest resolution. So that means also developed a kind of change of approach, I don’t know, stronger or more conversational? So what do you think about this doubt and kind of the calling to change the approach to North Korea?


Ambassador Oh:  Well as you pointed out, Resolution 2270 was a, is still, very robust, probably the strongest sanctions regime we have ever had. You should remember that the new resolution is not replacing 2270, the new resolution is adding to 2270. So, 2270 and all other previous resolutions and sanctions contained in them will continue to be effective. So this resolution is trying to complement 2270. For example, the 2270 had the ban on coal exports, but it had caveats, like exceptions for livelihood purposes. Livelihood purposes is not too clear a concept, so this new resolution is making sure that the coal export is really cut down. It will be cut down by 60-percent, so North Korea will be able to continue to export only 40-percent or 38-percent of the volume they used to export. So this is how we are trying to complement and fix the loopholes for the existing sanctions regime and by doing so we can strengthen the regime. And as I said, because I believe no country is an island. It might take more time for a country like North Korea that does not have too many international interactions, but it will still take effect, it will still work.


Ambassador Power: If I could just add, because I think it’s a question that’s on others’ minds as well, because both of you have responded very ably to some of the skepticism. Look at all the sanctions regimes through the last 50 years that have had, ultimately, their desired effect. None of them happened between March and November in a calendar year, right? And this resolution goes further than many of the regimes that would spring to mind, the Iran sanctions regime, which again a very different circumstance, a very different set of variables involved, but nonetheless in terms of time it does take time. South African Apartheid, Serbia, I mean, again, I think it was unrealistic for anybody to expect an instant change of calculus. And we who stood here, Japan, the United States and Korea, back in March made very clear that we didn’t expect an instant return on the resolution, not least because it takes time to put in place the kind of inspection regimes and really put pressure on Member States all around the world to cut off the kinds of relationships that were helping fuel the program.


So we know that we need tighter enforcement, this resolution closes off some of the loopholes or the ambiguities, the livelihood exemption I think is the best example of that, that was a very narrow exemption, in fact, but it hasn’t been interpreted by everybody as such, and so we just needed to go in and put in a hard cap. And by doing that, this regime will have $700 million dollars less, at least, to spend on its dangerous and illegal programs. But in addition to thinking about how the calculus gets changed, it is very important to note the ways in which this resolution and 2270, which exist as companions to one another, as Ambassador Oh Joon indicated, they interfere concretely every day with the ability of this regime to get access to technology, know-how, money. So functionally there are effects as well in terms of slowing his ability to go in the directions that he wants to go, and certainly in advance of March he had acquired technology and know-how and means that he has put to use, it’s true, in this calendar year. But again, I think if you look at incapacitation function, and the behavior change calculus change function, both are in play at once.


I really wanted to take the floor, though, to have the chance to pay tribute to my friend and colleague Joon. The Republic of Korea and the Korean people could not have been better served by an Ambassador, by a face to their acute mission-critical security interests, and a face to Korean compassion. For people who, as the Ambassador has put it over the years, happen to be born on one side of a line, and by virtue of that accident of birth find themselves subjected to a degree of brutality that is unparalleled in the modern world. You know, now we take for granted that the Security Council talks about human rights in North Korea as if it matters right alongside non-proliferation. But that is a new development, it is a new phenomenon that Council members see the way this regime is brutalizing its own people as a threat to international peace and security, and it is new that the empathy, the curiosity, the desire to make change in the human rights conditions, all of that, has been generated, you know, over a long period of time, but especially in a concentrated way over the last few years in New York. And it was when Ambassador Oh Joon was on the Security Council representing Korea that we secured the first-ever Security Council session on human rights in North Korea. We will continue that tradition going forward, not only that precedent and that agenda-setting for the people of North Korea, they matter to the world, they matter to the international community, but the way in which Ambassador Oh Joon has expressed himself in such a human way, I think, frankly, changes the way diplomats here think about how they should perform in the Security Council. Put the talking points aside and speak from your heart and say what matters to you, and it will matter to other people.  Thank you.



Facebook Twitter Youtube
サイトマップ | 法的事項 | アクセシビリティについて | プライバシーポリシー
Copyright ©2013 Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
The Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
866 U.N. Plaza, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10017