According to the official news agency of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and various government sources, at around 10:15 am local time on 18 November, the DPRK test-fired what it described as a new-type intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which it named the Hwasong-17.
The missile reportedly flew a distance of 1,000 km and to an altitude of approximately 6,100 km. It is reportedly the first successful test of the DPRK’s largest and most powerful missile, capable of reaching all of North America.
The launch was the latest in a series of alarming activities related to its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programmes that the DPRK has conducted in 2022, including over 60 launches using ballistic missile technology. Two of those launches involved ballistic missiles characterised by the DPRK as intermediate-range, and three as intercontinental-range.
Other launches involved shorter-range missiles using ballistic technology and other systems, which the DPRK has stated are for use to deliver so-called “tactical” nuclear weapons. This year it has also carried out launches using ballistic missile technology to test so-called hypersonic weapons and satellite systems.
The DPRK did not issue airspace or maritime safety notifications for any of these launches. Unannounced launches represent a serious risk to international civil aviation and maritime traffic.
The Secretary-General has strongly condemned the DPRK’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile launch, the second ICBM launch this month.
The DPRK’s continued pursuit of its nuclear weapons programme and launches of ballistic missiles blatantly violate relevant Security Council resolutions and have led to a significant escalation of tensions.
We reiterate our calls on the DPRK to desist from taking further provocative actions and to fully comply with its international obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions.
The DPRK appears to be actively pursuing its nuclear programme. The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported on 16 November that the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site quote “remains prepared to support a nuclear test” end quote.
The IAEA has continued to observe activity at the site. It has also observed construction activities at the Yongbyon nuclear facilities as well as indications that the 5-megawatt nuclear reactor was operating.
This is the tenth time the Council has met to discuss the DPRK in 2022, yet the situation on the Korean Peninsula continues to head in the wrong direction. The repeated missile launches, confrontational rhetoric, and military exercises contribute to a negative action-reaction cycle.
Tensions continue to increase, with no off-ramps in sight. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic is complicating diplomacy by impeding official and unofficial contacts with the DPRK.
It is critical to de-escalate and reduce tensions. Communication channels must be enhanced, particularly military to military, to lower the risk of miscalculation.
I join the Secretary-General in urging the DPRK to take immediate steps to resume dialogue leading to sustainable peace and the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
I also conveyed our serious concerns during my meeting with the DPRK Permanent Representative on 9 November.
The Secretary-General counts on Members of this Council, as a united body as well as individually, to urge the DPRK to refrain from carrying out further launches using ballistic missile technology or a seventh nuclear test.
Unity in the Security Council is critical, and a diplomatic solution is the only way forward.
Mr. President, let me close by stressing our concerns regarding the humanitarian situation in the DPRK.
The United Nations is ready to assist the DPRK in addressing 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.