Statement by H.E. Mr. RI SU YONG,
Minister for Foreign Affairs of
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
At the General Debate of the 70th Session of
The United Nations General Assembly
New York, 1 October 2015
I would like to congratulate you, Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, on your
election as President of the meaningful 70th session of the UN General
Assembly marking its 70th founding anniversary.
this session under the theme of “The United Nations at 70: the Road
ahead for Peace, Security and Human Rights” will round up with
successful result under your able Presidency.
We are now at a crucial historic point in time reflecting on the 70 years of the UN and designing the road ahead.
First and foremost, it is important to draw experiences from the
successes and learn lessons from the failures made in the activities of
the UN over the past 70 years.
It is fortunate that the
humankind has evaded a third world war during the past 70 years. It
should be counted as a victory of the noble ideal of peace against war,
which motivated for the most part the founding of the UN.
Upon entering a new Millennium, the world population living under the
poverty line was reduced by half. This should also be considered to be
another proud victory of the ideal of cooperation for development, which
represents one of the two main pillars of the UN along with peace.
This notwithstanding, the world has never been peaceful over the past
70 years. Neither has the humankind ever lived in comfort. The world has
undergone hundreds of wars and armed conflicts, big and small, some of
which were driven to the brink of a nuclear disaster.
The peace demanded by the humankind is not the one that is fragile like a
thin ice layer but the peace that is rock-firm, durable and permanent.
It is not the “peace” of a slave bestowed upon him only when he becomes
subservient to the master. Rather, it is the peace of dignity that an
independent human being deserves to enjoy. Such peace remains yet as
only a dream of the humankind.
The world has come a long way with
tremendous changes of the times. However, the UN mechanism and
functions or maintenance of peace and security are little different from
the old stereotype formed at initial period of its founding.
arbitrariness and undemocratic practices of the UN Security Council
have not been redressed, due to which the UN as a sacred international
organization is continuously abused as a monopolistic and
confrontational arena by a few individual powers.
result is that the world peace and security are under constant threat
and the humankind bec]]omes accustomed to live with cloudy flame of war
overhead against its will.
This is the biggest failure
overshadowing the 70 year history of the UN as well as the greatest
challenge we are facing in our road ahead.
Unless the sovereign
equality enshrined in the UN Charter is completely translated into
reality, the on-going practice of domination, inequality and unfairness
cannot be eradicated at the UN. Until the present international
relations are democratized, the UN will not be able to fulfill its
mission to safeguard international peace and security.
Furthermore, the UN will be degraded into a hiding haven and camouflage
for those forces disrupting and destroying peace and security.
This is the main lesson we learned as we look back on the 70 years of the UN.
Reflected on every page of the UN history at 70 is the history of
national division stained with misfortunes and pains that our people
suffered over the past seven decades.
The same year when the UN
was founded, our nation was liberated from the Japanese colonial rule
and, yet divided into the north and the south by a foreign force. The
same foreign force now sits on the Security Council as a permanent
For the past seven decades from the very beginning
of its founding up to this moment today, the UN has been completely
abused as a tool to violate the sovereignty, dignity, peace and security
of our nation.
It was none other than the “UN Temporary
Commission on Korea” that granted the so-called “legitimacy” to the
maneuvers of the United States which had fixed the division of our
nation by framing up “a separate government” in south Korea in 1948.
It was also in the name of the “UN forces” that the troops of the
United States and 15 other satellite countries used when they joined the
Korean War in 1950.
At the 30th session of the UN
General Assembly in 1975 a resolution was adopted on dismantling the “UN
Command” and withdrawing all foreign troops from south Korea. Like all
other resolutions voted against by the United States, this resolution
also was not implemented.
At present, nearly 40,000 massive US
troops are stationed in south Korea, outnumbering its troops in any
other foreign country. The US commander in south Korea is also wearing
the cap of the “UN Commander.” The large-scale nuclear war exercises
held several times every year by the United States and south Korea
during the past seven decades are commanded by this very “UN Commander.”
Even in the 21st century, the UN Security Council continues to commit
arbitrary acts against the DPRK in flagrant violation of justice and
In today’s world, there exists
international law that defines the use of outer space as a sovereign
right of every individual country and that there are more than 10
countries that launch satellites. However, the UN Security Council
passed a “resolution” on prohibiting the DPRK only from launching the
Also nine countries in the world have already
developed and conducted over 2,000 nuclear tests in total. But again,
the Security Council adopted “resolutions” on prohibiting nuclear test
of the DPRK which conducted nuclear tests only three times.
year, the United States launched yet another anti-DPRK smear campaign at
the UN General Assembly and Security Council on the basis of the
“Report of the Commission of Inquiry” on human rights situation in the
DPRK that was fabricated with groundless evidences, thereby exposing
that the UN is still no more than a tool which can be abused by the
Our development of outer space for
peaceful purposes is a legitimate right of a sovereign state and our
nuclear test is a self-defensive measure to cope with the hostile policy
and nuclear threat of the United States.
It is the steadfast
resolve and position of the Government of the DPRK to safeguard its
dignity by responding strongly to the end with all available
self-defensive measures against the unjust acts of taking issue with the
peaceful satellite launch.
The UN Charter provides that
the UN Security Council acts on the principles of justice and
international law. However, the UN is now turning into a chaotic arena,
making it difficult to assess which one takes precedence between the UN
Charter and the UN Security Council resolution.
Indeed, it is the
tragedy of the 21st century that the UN Security Council with greatest
responsibility and power becomes so reckless, ridiculed by one
Late last August, the situation on the Korean peninsula had once again headed to the brink of war.
Though triggered by a small incident whose cause remains unknown, it
became clear that such incident occurred every time when the large-scale
joint military exercises conducted by the United States and south Korea
reached their height.
In exercise of its right as a UN member
state as enshrined in the UN Charter, the DPRK referred to the UN
Security Council the aggressive and provocative large-scale joint
military exercises of the United States and south Korea to be placed on
the agenda of the Security Council as they constitute serious threats to
international peace and security. It also referred the August incident
to the Security Council.
The UN Security Council, however, remained silent on the referral every time.
What measure can the UN take when it is the “UN Commander” who commands
the large-scale war exercises that create a vicious cycle of heightened
There are other extremely strange phenomena that cannot be explained in logic.
It is more than 20 years since the DPRK joined the UN. But in Panmunjom
there still stand the flags of the DPRK and the UN against each other.
In other words, the UN is in a state of war against one of its member
states with their guns leveled against each other.
successive UN Secretaries-General expressed their positions that the “UN
Command” was not the mechanism under the UN control and that its
dismantlement could be decided by the UN Security Council only.
In the long run, it means that that the “UN Command” can never be
dismantled so long as the United States as a permanent member of the UN
Security Council with veto agrees to it. Therefore, it establishes the
equation that the UN equals the United States as the US troops are just
the “UN forces” on the Korean peninsula.
In the interest of
international peace and security and for the welfare and prosperity of
the Korean nation, the UN should uphold the original purposes and
principles of the UN Charter and address its abnormal relations with the
The August incident clearly showed how fragile is
the current peace on the Korean peninsula as it is in abnormal
relationship with the UN.
One conclusion drawn from the
cool-headed in-depth analysis of this incident is the fact that the
present armistice agreement in its nominal form can no longer maintain
peace on the Korean peninsula. The armistice agreement did not contain
any provision which allows such aggressive and provocative large-scale
The issue of replacing the armistice
agreement with a peace treaty requires the bold decision of the United
States before anyone else.
Although the inter-Korean relations
have now entered a phase of relaxation with so much effort, its
atmosphere is not yet as durable as desired. It is a distinct character
of the situation of the Korean peninsula that even a minor act of
provocation can lead to the aggravation of tensions and the freeze of
the north-south relations in an instant.
Having gone through the
August incident that made the northeast Asia and the entire world hold
their breadth in anxiety, it has become a crucial issue today to replace
the armistice agreement with a peace treaty with no further delay.
With regard to safeguarding peace on the Korean peninsula, there are
issues to be addressed between the north and the south as well as other
issues to be discussed between the DPRK and the United States.
1953 the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed between the Korean
People’s Army and the Chinese Volunteers’ Army on one side and the “UN
forces” on the other. With all other foreign troops withdrawn, only the
DPRK and the United States are the parties on each side that have
military prerogatives over their armed forces currently deployed in the
It is the United States that has the
wartime operation control of the south Korean army and administers the
armistice agreement as well.
It is high time for the United
States to come up with the signing of a peace treaty. The Government of
the DPRK is willing to hold constructive dialogue to prevent war and
conflicts on the Korean peninsula, once the United States agrees to
replace the armistice agreement with a peace treaty without claiming
about someone’s “provocation” through mass media.
If the United
States makes a policy change with courage, dramatic improvement will be
effected in the security environment on the Korean peninsula and
eventually lead to addressing security concerns of the United States.
This is the best option we can afford and the best solution we can
offer at this forum of the UN as it looks back on the past 70 years and
looks forward to the road ahead.
The DPRK is strongly convinced that the urgent replacement of the
armistice agreement with a peace treaty is the way to ensure peace and
security on the Korean peninsula and redress the abnormal relations
between the DPRK and the UN.
Further, it is with such belief that
it will contribute helping the UN to remain true to its founding ideals
and the purposes and principles of its Charter that the DPRK pledges to
make sincere and dynamic efforts towards that end.