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Bolton Today

Statement by Ambassador John R. Bolton, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the Launching of Multiple Ballistic Missiles by the DPRK, in the Security Council, July 15, 2006

Mr. President,

Eleven days have passed since the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) brazenly defied the international community and fired seven ballistic missiles, including a Taepo-dong 2 intercontinental ballistic missile, into the waters surrounding its neighbors, notably Japan.  Despite intense diplomatic efforts by a number of countries prior to these launches, North Korea chose to recklessly disregard the collective will of its neighbors, indeed the world.  In so doing, it violated several international commitments it had entered into, most recently the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks from September 2005.

Since the words of the North Korean leadership and the agreements it signs have consistently over time been shown to hold little value, it is only appropriate for the international community and the Security Council to evaluate North Korea based on its actions — actions which have been deeply disturbing.  It would be dangerous for the international community and this Council to look at these missile launches in isolation from North Korea’s unrelenting pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.  When North Korea launched a missile over Japan in 1998, we were not aware at that time that Pyongyang was pursuing a covert uranium enrichment program in violation of the 1994 Agreed Framework.  In the intervening eight years, North Korea has withdrawn from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), kicked out inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and declared not just that it is pursuing a nuclear weapons capability, but that it already possesses them.

Mr. President, we are pleased the Council has taken clear, firm and unanimous action in passing this Resolution.  The launching of seven ballistic missiles by North Korea constitutes a direct threat to international peace and security and demands a strong statement from the Council in the form of a strong Resolution.  The past eleven days have witnessed a flurry of diplomatic activity here in New York, a number of capitals around the world, and notably in Pyongyang itself, where a high-level delegation from the People’s Republic of China made one last attempt to make the North Korean leadership see reason. 

It was appropriate for us to show this flexibility on timing and allow diplomatic efforts a chance to succeed.  Those efforts are now exhausted, though, and the continued intransigence and defiance of the North Korean leadership demands a strong response from this Council.  The Resolution before us today does just that.  It also sends a much stronger signal than the weak and feckless response of the Council in 1998, which only issued a press statement.

In condemning the multiple launches of these ballistic missiles, the Council is affirming in this Resolution that these launches threaten international peace and security.  It is not just launching of these missiles that poses a threat, but the propensity of North Korea to proliferate this technology.  North Korea is the world’s leading proliferator of ballistic missile technology, so it was entirely appropriate for this Council to reaffirm Resolution 1540, which states that, “the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace security.”

This Resolution also demands action.  It sends an unequivocal, unambiguous and unanimous message to Pyongyang:  suspend your ballistic missile program; stop your procurement of materials related to weapons of mass destruction, and implement your September, 2005 commitment to verifiably dismantle your nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs.  It is not just Pyongyang, though, that must act.  It also “requires” Member States to do what they can to prevent the transfer of resources to the DPRK missile program or the procurement of missile-related items from the DPRK.  The United States expects that the DPRK and all other UN Member States will immediately act in accordance with the requirements of this resolution passed by the Security Council.

This is the first UNSC resolution on North Korea since 1993, reflecting the gravity of this situation and the unity and determination of the Council.  We hope this Resolution will demonstrate to North Korea that the best way to improve the livelihood of its people and end its international isolation is to stop playing games of brinkmanship and restore its missile moratorium, return to the Six-Party Talks and implement the terms of the Joint Statement from the last round of those talks. 

We look forward to North Korea’s full, unconditional and immediate compliance with this Security Council Resolution.  We hope that North Korea makes the strategic decision that the pursuit of WMD programs and threatening acts like these missile launches, make it less, not more secure.  We need to be prepared, though, that North Korea might choose a different path.  This is why it is important that if the DPRK does not comply with the requirements of this Resolution, the United States and other Member States have the opportunity at any point to return to the Council for further action. 

In closing, I would like to thank all Members of the Council for their efforts in helping us secure a strong and unanimous Resolution.  In particular, I would like to thank the efforts of my friend and colleague Kenzo Oshima, who lead the effort to being this Resolution to finality.

I thank you Mr. President.

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