Additional Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a UN Security Council Briefing on the November 21 Launch by the DPRK

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 27, 2023

AS DELIVERED

Thank you, Mr. President for allowing me to take the floor once again, and I will try to be as brief as possible.

We’ve heard 13 Member States sitting around this table call on the DPRK to cease their unlawful testing. So, the message is clear here that this is a violation of Security Council resolutions.

The DPRK claims it’s acting in self-defense, but the self-defense really does not stand here as the U.S. and ROK military exercises, as you know, are routine and they’re defensive in nature. And we intentionally reduce risk and pursue transparency by announcing the exercises in advance, including the dates and the activities unlike the DPRK.

And unlike the DPRK’s launches using ballistic missile technology, these actions are not prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions. So, we reject strongly the disingenuous DPRK claim that its missile launches are merely defensive in nature in response to our bilateral and trilateral military exercises.

And I think the chronology of these events revealed the truth. By the time the United Stares and the ROK resumed large-scale exercises in August of 2022, the DPRK had already conducted six ICBM launches that year, and its efforts to reconstitute its nuclear test sites were already underway.

I also heard and I want to reiterate a statement made by my Chinese colleague: “The DPRK’s pursuit of self-defense cannot come at the expense of the security of its neighbors or the global nonproliferation regime.”

Secondly, I’d like to mention the Chinese-Russian so-called humanitarian resolution, which in our view applauds the DPRK for not conducting IRBM and ICBM launches. Sanctions relief in the face of the DPRK’s unprecedented launches would only send one signal and that is a disregard for the Security Council, and violation of international law would be overlooked. And I think the Security Council cannot be engaged in that.

And I think if either Russia or China want to insist on the humanitarian side, they can do that and continue to do that bilaterally.

On the humanitarian situation, I would just like to mention that we do remain deeply concerned, but I think if you look at DPRK’s recent actions you will understand what their priorities are. The DPRK has allowed Chinese and Russian diplomats in and members of the anti-doping league, so its athletes can travel, but still UN aid agencies are forbidden from providing the necessary humanitarian assistance that we know is needed in that country.

Once again, I’d like to express sincerely our offer of dialogue without preconditions. The DPRK only needs to accept.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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Let me just say one thing: No weapons have ever been fired by the United States toward the DPRK. We’re working with our allies to help them in the protection of their sovereignty against your actions, which are based on paranoia about a possible attack by the United States. If there is anything the United States wants to provide to the DPRK, that is humanitarian assistance for your people, and not weapons to destroy your people. Thank you.

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