United States, Russian Federation Trade Accusations of Interference in Expert Panel’s Report as Security Council Considers Non-Proliferation

Under-Secretary-General Delivers Briefing on Denuclearization Efforts by Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

The representatives of the United States and the Russian Federation traded accusations today over the report of the Panel of Experts relating to the sanctions imposed on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as the Security Council met to consider non proliferation.

Arguing that the Russian Federation interfered with the Panel’s work, which her counterpart denied, the representative of the United States said that Moscow, having agreed to the sanctions, is now asking the Council to ease them and has been caught cheating, violating the measures and attempting to cover up the violations. Now is the wrong time to ease sanctions pressure and cheating should not be tolerated, she emphasized, saying Russian interference led to the changes in the midterm report of the 1718 Committee’s Panel of Experts.

Russian corruption is like a virus, she continued, warning: If we’re not careful, the sickness will spread to the Council. The final denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the goal of the entire international community, she said, urging the Russian Federation to demonstrate that it shares that objective and calling upon all Council members to demand that the Panel submit its original report.

The Russian Federation’s delegate dismissed the allegations, saying that the Panel has become a hostage to Washington. While no State should interfere with the work of the Panel, its experts do not work in a vacuum, he pointed out. The original report did not reflect the Russian Federation’s legitimate concerns, he explained, stressing that it is the United States that is interfering with the Panel’s work by blocking the dissemination of the latest version of its report, to which experts, including those from the United States, agreed.

He insisted that denuclearization must start with confidence building measures. The signing of a peace treaty by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea could put an end to the state of war on the Korean Peninsula, he pointed out, adding that a restrictive measure should not be an end in itself. Sanctions cannot replace diplomacy, he stressed.

China’s delegate said that there is no military solution and confrontation is a dead end, proposing a dual track approach: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should suspend its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and the United States and the Republic of Korea should suspend their joint military exercises. China has fulfilled Security Council resolutions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and can submit a record of oil exports to that country, he said, underlining that it will handle violations, if found, in accordance with its own laws.

The representative of the Republic of Korea said the Council and the international community acted in unity to fully implement the sanctions regime, sending a clear message to Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons programme. To achieve the complete denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, efforts must focus on maintaining the hard won momentum for negotiations towards a diplomatic solution, he said, citing the efforts of his own country and the United States.

A significant breakthrough is expected during the next inter Korean summit in Pyongyang, which will help to resume stalled negotiations between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he continued. No doubt the road ahead will be bumpy, he noted. We must pursue our shared goal of the complete denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with patience, persistence and, above all, a united stance and solidarity. In doing so, sanctions must be implemented in a mutually complementary manner.

Japan’s delegate said that at this critical juncture, it is to be hoped that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will seize the opportunity and take concrete steps to denuclearize. While engaging with Pyongyang, sanctions must be fully implemented, he said, reiterating that now is not the time to ease the measures. The international community must be united in stopping related violations, he added. Sharing the view of the United States that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea breached the annual cap for refined petroleum products, as outlined in resolution 2397 (2017), he said all Member States must stop such actions.

The Council also heard a briefing by Rosemary DiCarlo, Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, who noted several positive developments relating to Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes over recent months, including an immediate halt to nuclear explosive testing and flight tests of certain longer range ballistic missiles.

In the meantime, there continue to be signs that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is maintaining and developing its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, she said, noting that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) remains unable to gain access to the country and verify the correctness and completeness of its declarations under its safeguards agreement.

A year ago, the Peninsula was the most tense and dangerous peace and security issue in the world, she recalled, adding that, today, progress has been made on building trust, reducing military tensions, and opening or reopening channels of communication. A foundation has been established to make tangible progress on the core issues, she said, encouraging all Member States to support the parties in their diplomatic efforts, and to ensure full implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions.

Also speaking today were representatives of Sweden, France, Kuwait, Equatorial Guinea, United Kingdom, CAte d’Ivoire, Peru, Poland, Netherlands, Bolivia, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia.

The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 12:08 p.m.

Briefing

ROSEMARY DICARLO, Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, said there have been several positive developments related to the nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea over recent months, including an immediate halt to nuclear explosive testing and flight tests of certain longer range ballistic missiles. In the meantime, there continue to be signs that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is maintaining and developing its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, she said, adding that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) remains unable to gain access to the country and verify the correctness and completeness of its declarations under its safeguards agreement. She said that on 20 August, the head of the Agency reported that it observed signatures consistent with the continued operation of the plutonium production reactor, radiochemical laboratory and alleged uranium enrichment facility at Yongbyon.

She went on to note that the Secretary General has welcomed the commitment made by Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on 5 September to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. It is hoped that positive developments, together with the important summits between the leaders of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea, and between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States, will contribute to an atmosphere conducive to advancing sustainable peace and complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions. The Council’s unity helped to create the opportunity to engage diplomatically, she added.

A year ago, the Peninsula was the most tense and dangerous peace and security issue in the world, she recalled, adding that, today, progress has been made on building trust, reducing military tensions, and opening or reopening channels of communication. A foundation has been established to make tangible progress on the core issues, she said, encouraging all Member States to support the parties in their diplomatic efforts, and to ensure full implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions. She said there are no reporting lines between the United Nations Command and the United Nations Secretariat. The Secretary General will, during the upcoming high level week of the United Nations General Assembly, discuss how he and the United Nations system can further support the parties and how steps can be further advanced towards sustainable peace, security, and complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, in accordance with Security Council resolutions.

Statements

NIKKI HALEY (United States), Council President for September, spoke in her national capacity, saying that the measures adopted in 2017 were historic and created one of the most restrictive sanctions regimes in history. Citing elements of the measures, she said the aim remains to cut off funding for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear weapons programme. While the Russian Federation agreed to the sanctions, it is now asking the Council to ease the sanctions and has been caught cheating, violating the measures and attempting to cover up the violations. The United States has evidence of wide ranging and consistent violations by the Russian Federation, including video footage of a ship to ship transfer of oil, she said. In addition, the Russian Federation prevented the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006) from obtaining information.

Citing such instances as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s assassination of Kim Jong Nam and the nuclear weapons programme, she said the Russian Federation has resisted investigations and now, step by step, is working to undermine the sanctions regime. She went on to express alarm that sections of the 1718 Committee’s Panel of Experts midterm report have been removed, she said the Russian Federation is intervening with its work. Russian corruption is like a virus, she added. If we’re not careful, the sickness will spread to the Council. Now is the wrong time to ease sanctions pressure and cheating should be not be tolerated, she emphasized, adding that the evidence that the United States presented today leaves the Russian Federation with a choice either to support or to violate the sanctions. The Council must not be indifferent on the matter, she said, stressing that the final denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the goal of the entire international community. The Russian Federation must now demonstrate that it shares that objective, she said, calling upon all Council members to demand that the Panel of Experts submit its original report.

OLOF SKOOG (Sweden) said Council unity has been decisive so far in ensuring progress regarding the situation on the Korean Peninsula and it must stand firm with the same unity. Emphasizing that all actors must implement the sanctions until the Council’s demands are met, he said reports show that violations are continuing, including in the oil trade and financial transactions. It is not acceptable for any State to interfere with the work of the Panel of Experts’ work, she said, stressing that all States must respect its independence. Differences should be resolved through discussions in the 1718 Committee. Welcoming the inter Korean summits and the dialogue between the leaders of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States, he said Pyongyang must fulfil its commitment without delay, adding that IAEA should be able to start its verification work early. While noting that the Government is responsible for the humanitarian situation inside the country, he emphasized the need to avoid the adverse impacts of the sanctions.

FRANCOIS DELATTRE (France) said recent developments have helped to ease tensions, and while this is encouraging, action by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is not quite there yet. That country is circumventing sanctions by making use of loopholes and through the lack of will on the part of some countries, he said. There are signs that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is pursuing ballistic missile programmes. We must collectively remain vigilant, he said, emphasizing that the implementation of sanctions is essential because they are the requisite tools, not an a la carte menu from which one can choose on the basis of appetite. The report of the Panel of Experts must be published without interference, he stressed, voicing his delegation’s support for the United States effort to strengthen sanctions if necessary to send a strong signal to Pyongyang. It is up to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to show concrete action for verifiable and irreversible denuclearization, he added.

MA ZHAOXU (China) said positive changes have occurred on the Korean Peninsula and the situation is now on the correct track of dialogue towards political settlement. China wishes to see both the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea to implement the outcome of their summit, he said, expressing hope that their upcoming summit will yield positive results. Commending the political will to dismantle nuclear facilities demonstrated by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he urged all Council members and other relevant parties to consolidate this momentum. Three things are key, he said, citing the need to uphold the goal of denuclearization, addressing legitimate security concerns, and dialogue. There is no military solution and confrontation is a dead end, he emphasized, proposing a dual track approach: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should suspend its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and the United States and the Republic of Korea should suspend their joint military exercises. He said that his country has fulfilled Security Council resolutions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and can submit a record of oil exports to that country. China will handle violations, if found, in accordance with its laws, he said. The United Nations Command is a product of the cold war, he added.

MANSOUR AYYAD SH. A. ALOTAIBI (Kuwait) said the Council has played a leading role in condemning all the illegal programmes of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and must remain united, firm and keen on full implementation of relevant resolutions. Expressing regret over the recent situation involving the 1718 Committee, he said the Council’s unity on the matter has been jeopardized. Calling upon all members to transcend the current differences and assume their responsibilities in the maintenance of international peace and security, he said that adherence to the rules of procedure and safeguarding the independence of the Panel’s reports must govern the Council’s work. As Chair of the Working Group on documentation and other procedural questions, he emphasized the urgent need to modify many Council procedures, while noting that the Council must work through established procedures until modifications are made.

ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea) called upon the Council to ensure that its decisions are taken by consensus, and upon the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to abide by related unanimously adopted resolutions. The Council must do its part, he said. We are here to do what is right. Emphasizing that all members must be treated equally and have their concerns addressed, he said that to avoid the proliferation of nuclear weapons, bold efforts and concrete steps are needed to that end.

KAREN PIERCE (United Kingdom) said Council action has been blocked by one member, expressing disbelief that a single member could hamper its efforts. The denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is vital, she emphasized, appealing to fellow Council members to work hard to maintain unity on the issue. States neighbouring that country have a particular responsibility to ensure the implementation of sanctions, she added, welcoming the reassurances of China’s representative. However, vigilance is needed to prevent sanctions violations, she stressed. Turning to other concerns, she said the report of the Panel of Experts should be submitted in its original version. On the issue of the United Nations Command, she said all shipments passing through the demilitarized zone must be verified.

KACOU HOUADJA LA�ON ADOM (CAte d’Ivoire) welcomed the encouraging signs of easing tension on the Korean Peninsula, including the historic summit between the leaders of the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. CAte d’Ivoire looks forward to the outcome of the upcoming summit between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea, including a possible peace declaration, he said, urging all the parties to engage in dialogue and Council members to preserve their unity. Expressing the need to respect the independence and impartiality of the report of the Panel of Experts, he also voiced concern over sanctions violations, including in the export of coal and the oil trade.

GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) stressed that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s missile programmes violated international law and should be abandoned. Until then, sanctions must be upheld, and the Council should keep a close eye on non compliance. Unity on this issue is essential for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Commending diplomatic efforts by the Republic of Korea and the United States, he stressed that the sanctions regime can help bring Pyongyang to the negotiation table. Underscoring the need for full compliance regarding sanctions, he urged respect for the independence of the Panel of Experts.

JOANNA WRONECKA (Poland) said the sanctions serve the sole purpose of limiting possible avenues for the financing of Pyongyang’s illegal military activities. She said her delegation is deeply concerned that it has not stopped its nuclear and ballistic missiles programmes and continues to defy Security Council resolutions in an increasingly sophisticated manner, including illicit ship to ship transfers of petroleum products, and attempts to supply arms and other military equipment to countries across the Middle East. Expressing disappointment that the Panel’s midterm report could not be published, she declared: We are gravely concerned by the fact that one Member State of the Security Council tried to actively interfere with the conclusions of the midterm report after it had been submitted to the Committee. This is unacceptable.

KAREL JAN GUSTAAF VAN OOSTEROM (Netherlands), expressing support for ongoing diplomatic efforts, said he hopes further steps can be taken during the upcoming inter Korean summit and a possible second meeting between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The latter must now take meaningful steps to address the Council’s concerns, including the continuation of its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. Until such matters are addressed, it is too early to talk about sanctions relief, particularly in light of the increase in illegal ship to ship transfers of petroleum products and Pyongyang’s attempts to supply weapons to actors in the Middle East, he said. Calling upon all Member States to implement the sanctions fully, he said that, as Chair of the 1718 Committee, he will do his utmost to that end. The reports of the Panel of Experts are the cornerstone of the United Nations sanctions regime on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and crucial for engagement with third countries, he noted.

VERA�NICA CORDOVA SORIA (Bolivia), reaffirming her country’s commitment to non proliferation efforts, called upon all nuclear weapon States to take swift steps to end their programmes. Committed to the relevant resolutions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, she expressed hope for the success of the summit scheduled for 18 September. Sanctions should be a temporary measure along a path leading towards settling differences. While expressing concern that the current sanctions have been causing suffering among the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, she said her delegation is encouraged by the talks between that country and the United States, noting that significant progress has been made towards peace and stability, including through family reunification initiatives.

KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan) said unity must be preserved in the Council in order to achieve the overarching task of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. Noting that sanctions are only interim measures, he said that, as Chair of three sanctions committees, he understands the difficulties of ensuring their effective implementation. While reports of the Panel of Experts can cause controversy among members, it is important to ensure full proof of the facts and the veracity of the evidence, he said, expressing hope for a speedy settlement of the current differences between Council members. The situation on the Korean Peninsula is much better than ever before, he noted, adding that, having had practical disarmament experience, Kazakhstan fully understands the complexity of the denuclearization process.

Mr. SELLASSIE (Ethiopia) said reports of another summit between the leaders of the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and the upcoming summit between the latter and the Republic of Korea is encouraging. However, there is an implementation gap, he said, emphasizing that denuclearization is not an easy task. Underscoring the importance of the work of the Panel of Experts and the 1718 Committee, he called for continued cooperation among Member States and support for those bodies. Preserving the unity of Council members is key to achieving the ultimate goal of denuclearizing he Korean Peninsula, he emphasized.

VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) recalled that, half a year ago, the Council used to meet, sometimes twice a week, to discuss Pyongyang’s launching of ballistic missiles. Today, there is a prospect of that country and the Republic of Korea signing a peace treaty. He asked why the United States delegation and other members of the Council seek to block the adoption of a presidential statement in support of positive developments, including lowered military tensions and the establishment of direct contacts between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea and the United States. Negotiations between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States are facing some difficulties because one side offers nothing in return for its demands, he said, emphasizing that diplomacy is a two way street. Recalling that the United States unilaterally broke its promise to Iran and the international community by leaving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, he stressed that denuclearization must begin with confidence building measures.

A peace treaty could end the state of war on the Korean Peninsula, but a restrictive measure should not be an end in itself, he said, underlining: Sanctions cannot replace diplomacy. Regarding the 1718 Committee, he said it is not true that his delegation is exerting pressure on the Panel of Experts, adding that the Panel is politicized and has become hostage to Washington. Its first report did not meet the required standards because it did not take the Russian Federation’s viewpoints into account, he said, adding that his delegations is not exerting pressure but rather abiding by the Committee’s procedures. No State can interfere with the work of the Panel, but the experts do not work in a vacuum, he noted. The delegation of the United States is actually interfering with the Panel’s work by blocking the dissemination of the new version of its report, signed by the experts, including one from the United States. So who is disseminating lies?

Ms. HALEY (United States) said: Deny, distract and lie � the international community has heard the same song before. Lying, cheating and rogue behaviour have become the new norm of Russian culture, she added, urging the Russian Federation to allow the release of the Panel’s first report.

CHO TAE-YUL (Republic of Korea) said dramatic changes have occurred over the past year, transforming the region’s atmosphere from one riven by escalating tensions to an environment of cooperation built with a well measured combination of diplomatic tools. The Council and the international community acted in unity in fully implementing the sanctions regime, sending a clear message to Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons programme. To achieve the complete denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, efforts must focus on maintaining the hard won momentum for negotiations towards a diplomatic solution, he said, citing the efforts of his own country and the United States. A significant breakthrough is expected during the next inter Korean summit in Pyongyang, which will help to resume stalled negotiations between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said. No doubt the road ahead will be bumpy, he noted. We must pursue our shared goal of the complete denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with patience, persistence and, above all, a united stance and solidarity. In doing so, sanctions must be implemented in a mutually complementary manner, he emphasized. For progress in negotiations, mutual trust is essential, he added, noting that the ongoing inter Korean dialogue will help to create confidence in that regard. Turning to other matters, he stressed that it is inappropriate to debate openly in an official Council meeting the actions of the United Nations Command on a specific issue that is not part of the agenda.

KORO BESSHO (Japan) expressed hope that the momentum arising from the historic summit between the leaders of the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will lead to a resolution of the nuclear issue. At this critical juncture, it is to be hoped that Pyongyang will seize the opportunity and take concrete steps to denuclearize. While engaging with Pyongyang, sanctions must be fully implemented, he said, stressing that now is not the time to ease the measures. The international community must be united in stopping related violations, he added. Sharing the view of the United States that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea breached the annual cap for refined petroleum products, as outlined in resolution 2397 (2017), he said all Member States must stop such actions. To achieve a comprehensive solution on the Korean Peninsula, the Council should maintain its unity in implementing its resolutions, he said. We should not lose sight of our common cause of achieving the complete denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, nor should we allow the very authority of this Council to be challenged by diverting our attention away from cynical attempts to flout the existing sanctions regime. He expressed hope that the inter Korean summit to be held in the coming week will lead to concrete actions towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Mr. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) took the floor a second time, emphasizing that lies and denies are absent from his statements. The Panel of Experts, including those from the United States, agreed to reflect the Russian concerns in their report, he reiterated, adding that there is no other version. The United States delegation is the one exerting pressure on the Panel by demanding it revert to the original report, he added.

Source: United Nations

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