News

8 April 1998


Press Release
DC/2602



[EXCERPTS] DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA CALLS FOR SECURITY ASSURANCES FROM UNITED STATES ON THREAT OR USE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS

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Calls for United Nations Action to End Confrontational Relations in Korean Peninsula

If the Korean peninsula was to be denuclearized, the United States should give legal assurances that it would not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, its representative said this morning, as the Disarmament Commission continued its general exchange of views.

The United States commitment to providing a "nuclear umbrella" to the Republic of Korea was of serious concern to his country and had compelled it to bear the heavy burden of an arms race against its will, the representative said. He called on the United Nations to take steps to end the cold war, confrontational relations in the Korean peninsula.

Also this morning, the representative of the Republic of Korea welcomed the progress made towards the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, which enhanced both regional and global peace and security. He said they were effective and indispensable in promoting nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and confidence-building at the regional level.

Nevertheless, such zones should not undermine the inherent right to individual or collective self-defence, he said. Prior consensus should be reached among the countries concerned, including any nuclear-weapon States, in their establishment. The specific characteristics of the region should also be taken into account, including its security situation and the existence of any regional security mechanisms.

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Statements

MYUNG CHUL HAHM (Republic of Korea) said that internationally recognized nuclear-weapon-free zones were effective and indispensable instrument for promoting nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and confidence-building at the regional level. They were valuable in enhancing but regional and global peace and security. The Republic of Korea welcomed the solid progress made over the years towards the establishment of such zones.

A number of factors were important in the establishment of nuclear- weapon-free zones. Prior consensus should be reached among the countries concerned, including any nuclear-weapon States. Consideration should be given to the relevant specific characteristics of the region in question, including its security situation and the existence of any regional security mechanisms. The principles of international law, including that of free navigation on the high seas, should be respected.

In the creation of such zones, the inherent right to individual or collective self-defence, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter, should not be undermined, he went on to say. There should also be a clear definition of what constitutes a "geographical entity". In addition, an appropriate verification mechanism should be provided, including the application of full- scope International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards to all peaceful nuclear facilities in the zone.

He said the fourth special session of the General Assembly on disarmament should address all aspects of disarmament in a balanced manner, giving equal attention to weapons of mass destruction and conventional weapons. The international community must be flexible in encompassing issues and avoid excluding them in order to reach consensus. Serious attention should be given to newly emerging issues, such as new weapons systems arising from scientific advances. That applied, in particular, to information technology and to the transfer of sensitive technology.

The Republic of Korea supported last year's consensus agreement on guidelines on conventional arms control, limitation and disarmament, which had stressed the consideration of peace in post-conflict situations, he said. There should be a clear definition of conflict. The relevant experience


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gained by the United Nations and other international organizations should be emphasized in the process of formulating guidelines.

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KIM CHANG GUK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) said priority should be given to nuclear disarmament. Efforts should aim at the complete abolition of nuclear weapons and the denuclearization of the entire world. The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones represented an essential means for realizing that aim. The Commission should intensify its deliberations on the drafting of universal guidelines for the establishment of nuclear-weapon- free zones. The obligations of the parties in the region concerned should be


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clearly defined. Nuclear-weapon States should be obliged to provide support and legal assurances for the nuclear-weapon-free zones.

The Korean peninsula remained the most tense hot spot, and its denuclearization was much more urgent than that of others, he said. His country had made sincere efforts to that end. However, the prospects for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula remained uncertain, and the issue of legal assurances by nuclear-weapon States had been completely disregarded. If the Korean peninsula was to be denuclearized, the United States, which was a party directly responsible for peace and stability on the peninsula, should give legal assurances that it would not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against his country. It should rescind its commitment to provide a nuclear umbrella to South Korea, as it had pledged in its June 1993 Joint Statement with his country in their Agreed Framework, which was concluded in Geneva in October 1994.

Although the United States has pledged its support for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, it was unwilling to take any legal steps to that end, he said. That was a fundamental reason why the North-South joint declaration on denuclearization of the peninsula, signed in December 1991, had not been implemented. The United States' reluctance to renounce its commitment of providing a nuclear umbrella to South Korea and to give assurances of non-use to his country was motivated by a policy of maintaining the confrontational structure of the cold-war era on the peninsula.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which had serious concerns for its security because of the constant military threat by the United States, had been compelled to bear the heavy burden of an arms race against its will, he said. The United Nations must take appropriate measures to end the cold war era, confrontational relations in the Korean peninsula.

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