Statement delivered by Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council briefing on Non-proliferation/Democratic People’s Republic of Korea —
Allow me at the outset to thank you and the Japanese Presidency for convening this important meeting, as well as the Secretary General for his briefing. We appreciate USG Feltman’s visit to Pyongyang last week, and support the UN’s efforts to establish a channel of communication with the North Korean authorities, also in order to reduce the risk of unintentional escalation.
There can be no ambiguity in our analysis of the current scenario: the deterioration registered over the past year is a direct consequence of the North Korean regime’s illegal and destabilizing activities.
This threat is immediate in nature and global in scope. We extend once again our full solidarity with the citizens of Japan and South Korea.
And we cannot forget the plight of the people of North Korea while their Government diverts energies and resources towards the development of illegal weapons of mass destruction programs.
We have repeatedly seen how the DPRK regime’s unprecedented provocations in the development of nuclear arms and missile capabilities have flared up tensions on the Korean peninsula and beyond, constituting , in our view, one of the gravest threat to international peace and security we are facing today.
We strongly condemn these activities, and call on the North Korean to abide to its international obligations and we also call on the DPRK to abandon its chemical weapons program and immediately adhere to the Chemical Weapons Convention, as called for in resolution 2371.
It is clear that a conflict in the Korean peninsula would be catastrophic for the region and for the world.
This Council’s response to the situation in the DPRK this year has been forceful and effective. Three new resolutions have been approved, providing for the most comprehensive set of sanctions in a generation. We have also taken significant additional measures at the EU and national levels. Italy recently interrupted the accreditation procedure for the designated DPRK Ambassador to Rome.
The sanctions are meant to achieve three main goals. First: to make North Korean regime realize that further provocations will only lead to greater isolation. Second: to stop the DPRK from exploiting the interconnected nature of the global economy in order to fund its illegal weapons programs. Third: to provide the necessary leverage in order to bring about a verifiable change in the regime’s policies, therefore opening the way towards a political solution based on complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.
I wish to emphasize that this strategy will fully work only if two conditions are met. First: full and comprehensive implementation of the sanctions by the whole UN membership, and Second: continued unity in the Council on this issue.
As Chair of the 1718 Sanctions Committee Italy has worked to improve the implementation of sanctions throughout this year.
Many challenges remain: such an articulated and wide sanctions regime requires constant interaction with Member States to bridge information gaps. Furthermore, many countries face capacity challenges. There is also an issue related to timing: the delay in transposing sanctions provisions into national legislation may create opportunities for evading them.
This is also why it is crucial to submit National Implementation Reports on time. While we have seen a steady increase over the last year, there is room for improvement. Let me underline the importance and urgency of submitting implementation reports for all DPRK sanctions resolutions.
Lastly, Mr. President, I wish to reiterate that sanctions are not meant to have unintended negative consequences on the humanitarian situation in the country, which continues to be a matter of serious concern, while bearing in mind that it is the DPRK regime which bears primary responsibility for improving the livelihood of its people.
We continue to engage with all relevant stakeholders on this issue. I chaired last week a very productive Sanctions Committee meeting on the humanitarian situation In this context, we renew our appeal to humanitarian actors to make full use of the relevant exemptions provided for in the various Security Council resolutions. At the same time, a more timely and systematic interaction between the UN Agencies and the 1718 Committee could go a long way in preventing unnecessary obstacles in providing critical humanitarian assistance to the North Korean people.
I thank you, Mr. President.