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Assistant-Secretary-General Khaled Khiari reiterates strong condemnation of recent ballistic missile launches by the DPRK




New York, 4 November 2022

Mr. President, according to various government sources, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) launched an unprecedented number of ballistic missiles and other types of systems on 2 and 3 November.  The DPRK has yet to publicly provide details of these launches. 

One of the missiles launched on 3 November was assessed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile.  It reportedly covered a range of 760 km, and reached an apogee of around 1,920 km, indicating that the launch may not have been successful.  One of the DPRK ballistic missiles launched on 2 November reportedly impacted in waters in proximity of the territorial sea of the Republic of Korea. 

Mr. President, the Secretary-General strongly condemns the launch of a ballistic missile of reported intercontinental range by the DPRK as well as the barrage of various missiles over recent days.  He calls on the DPRK to immediately cease any further reckless acts and to comply fully with its international obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions. 

Mr. President, it is troubling that the DPRK has consistently disregarded any consideration for international flight or maritime safety.  While the DPRK National Aviation Administration stated on 8 October that its missile launch did not pose a risk to civil aviation or the region, aircraft operators are required to assess safety of their own flight operations.  To meet this obligation, operators rely on coordination amongst air traffic services authorities, as well as the promulgation of timely information on hazards.

Mr. President, the Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the tension on the Korean Peninsula and the increase in confrontational rhetoric, including the DPRK’s messaging related to nuclear weapon use.  This is the ninth time the Council has met to discuss the DPRK in 2022.  Following our last briefing on 5 October, the DPRK claimed that its seven earlier missile launch events were all part of quote “tactical nuclear operation units” end quote. 

While all concerned seek to avoid an unintended escalation, the spate of missile launches and military exercises contributes to a negative action-reaction cycle.  To lower the risk of miscalculation and reduce tensions in the region, it is critical to immediately strengthen communication channels, including inter-Korean and military to military. 

The Secretariat remains in close contact with all parties, including the DPRK.  Given the potential risks associated with any military confrontation, in exercise of its primary responsibility, the Security Council needs to do all it can to prevent an escalation. Unity in the Security Council is critical. Security Council unity also creates an opportunity to seek off-ramps and sustained diplomatic engagement.

The Secretary‑General urges the DPRK to immediately return to the negotiating table. He also urges the key parties to resume their diplomatic efforts with a view to achieving sustainable peace and a complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Mr. President, separately, the Secretary-General remains concerned over the humanitarian situation in the DPRK.  The United Nations system, in coordination with international and humanitarian partners, is ready to send staff and assistance to help the DPRK Government address medical and humanitarian needs, including those related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  To allow for a timely and effective response, we reiterate our call for the unimpeded entry of international staff and humanitarian supplies.   

Mr. President, let me close by reiterating that the unity of the Security Council in this matter is essential to ease tensions, overcome the diplomatic impasse and the negative action-reaction cycle. 

Thank you.