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PSPD    People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy

  • Peace/Disarmament
  • 2019.08.28
  • 210

Watch Report No.14      

The UN Security Council Meeting Called by the UK, France, and Germany Should Have Discussed Ways to Enhance the Implementation of the Singapore Agreement, not Sanctions against the DPRK.

 

Aug. 28, 2019

 

On June 30, 2019, at the Summit meeting in Panmunjom, the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed to hold working-level discussions in mid-July. However, the discussions have not taken place yet because the US has failed to come up with “a new method of calculation,” which the DPRK has been expecting.

 

Conflicts arose during the last two months, both between the US and DPRK and between North and South Korea, over the US-ROK Joint Military Exercise. The DPRK strongly and continuously urged the US and ROK to stop the military exercise, claiming that it was a manifestation of hostility toward the DPRK and therefore, was counter to the US-DPRK Singapore agreement or the inter-Korean Panmunjom Declaration. Although the US and ROK stopped using names for the exercise such as “Dong Maeng (Alliance) 19-2,” and instead started calling the exercises “Crisis Management Staff Training” (for the first half on August 5-8) and “Combined Command Post Training” (for the latter half on August 11-20)[1], they carried out the program as scheduled. In response, the DPRK conducted seven test-launches, with multiple shots, of short-range ballistic missiles from July 25 to the present (on July 25, 31, August 2, 6, 10, 16 and 24), concurrently with the US-ROK Joint Military Exercise.

 

In reaction to DPRK’s short-range missile launch, the UK, France, and Germany requested that the Security Council (SC) convene a meeting, and a closed meeting was held on August 1. After the meeting, the three states held a press conference[2], during which they issued a short statement condemning the DPRK’s launch of short-range ballistic missiles[3]. The statement said that they “reiterate (their) condemnation” of “the launches of ballistic missiles by North Korea in the past few days,” “which are violations of UN Security Council Resolutions.” The statement strongly insisted on continuing the enforcement of sanctions, asserting that “international sanctions must remain in place and be fully enforced until North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs are dismantled.”

 

In response to this, the spokesperson for the DPRK Foreign Ministry immediately released a statement through the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), strongly condemning the action of the UK, France, and Germany[4]. The spokesperson’s statement criticized the three states for taking issue with “the firing based on the ballistic technology, not the range of the projectile,” without questioning “the war exercises in South Korea and shipment of cutting-edge attack weapons into it,” which is tantamount to demanding a complete renunciation of the right to self-defense. The statement also warned that “their (the three states’) stupid words and deeds wouldn’t restrain the tension on the Korean Peninsula but serve as a catalyst for the escalation.” What the DPRK statement calls the “shipment of cutting-edge attack weapons into South Korea” refers to the recent arrival of F-35A stealth fighters, which the ROK purchased from the United States. The fighters were delivered to the ROK Air Force base in Cheongju. Global Hawks, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), are also scheduled to land at the same Air Force base.

 

At its meeting on August 1, the SC did not issue any particular statement. Although details of the discussion have not been reported, the fact that the SC could not agree to issue a resolution or statement was not surprising. The U.S., with considerable influence in the SC, would not support any statement that would place blame on the short-range missile launches. The US did not have a willingness to address the DPRK’s short-range missile launch as a violation of the UNSC resolution, instead placing importance on the framework of the US-DPRK Singapore agreement. President Trump tweeted that “these missile tests are not a violation of our signed Singapore agreement,” even though “there may be a United Nations violation,”[5] and indicated the US would not question DPRK’s launch of a ballistic missile as long as it was a short-range missile.

 

The most serious problem that surfaced during the SC meeting was how outdated and one-sided the perspectives of the three states were in grasping the current situation. The problem is all the more serious, for these three European states have the potential to play an international coordinating role from a position different than that of the US, in terms of the peace and denuclearization process on the Korean Peninsula.

 

As far as it can be judged from the joint statement of August 1, the three states seem to have a correct recognition that only discussions between the US and DPRK can move the situation forward to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. However, the joint statement remains silent about the three states’ views on core questions, including why the working-level discussions – originally scheduled for mid-July – have not been held yet, or what would be required under the current situation in order for the US-DPRK talks to make progress. Moreover, the three states repeat their basic demands in a condescending manner, such as: “[We] urge North Korea to take concrete steps towards its complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization (CVID),” or “Serious efforts by North Korea ... are the best way to guarantee security and stability on the Korean Peninsula.” This is not the attitude one would expect the SC to take at this stage.

 

As was pointed out in Watch Report No.10, the UNSC adopted sanction resolutions on the DRPK ten times, starting with Resolution 1718 on October 14, 2006 until 2017, in which it prohibited the DPRK from undertaking “nuclear tests” and any further “launches that use ballistic missile technology,” and demanded that the DPRK abandon nuclear weapon and any other WMD programs as well as ballistic missile programs. However, the SC’s efforts – efforts lasting for more than 11 years to improve the situation through economic sanctions resolutions – have not produced any results. What turned around the situation was the series of US-DPRK Summit meetings since 2018, culminating in the adoption of the Singapore Joint Declaration. The agreements set forth in this Declaration pave the way for the realization of the very goals the SC resolutions have aimed to achieve by means of the imposition of sanctions.

 

It is high time that the SC members, including the above-mentioned three states, discuss the roles the Council could play to support the smooth implementation of the US-DPRK Singapore agreement. Arguments, as if sanctions against DPRK were an end rather than a means, based upon the SC resolutions’ language such as, “shall not conduct any further launches that use ballistic missile technology”, would be inappropriate and unhelpful at this point in the sensitive process of denuclearization.

 

At the outset, the SC resolutions against the DPRK placed unprecedented restrictions on missiles, prohibiting the DPRK “from undertaking any further launches that use ballistic missile technology,” which bound subsequent SC actions tightly, and the SC fell into a trap that it had set for itself, that is, it is now forced to take action on even trivial launches. If progress is to be made, the SC must face this fact calmly and squarely. (Ichiro YUASA & Hiromichi UMEBAYASHI)

 

Postscript: On August 27, shortly after this report was completed, the UN Security Council held its second meeting for the same purpose at the request of the UK, France, and Germany. The three states issued a joint statement the content of which was almost the same as that of August 1 [6]. The analysis contained in this report is given greater credence by the outcome of this second meeting as evidenced by its joint statement.

 

-----------------

[1] “Allies to conduct summertime military exercise in earnest next week,” Yonhap News Agency, Aug 10, 2019

https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20190810000900325?section=search

[2] “At U.N., Britain, France, Germany urge N. Korea to hold 'meaningful' talks with U.S.” Reuters, Aug 2, 2019

https://www.reuters.com/article/northkorea-missiles-un/at-u-n-britain-france-germany-urge-n-korea-to-hold-meaningful-talks-with-u-s-idUSL2N24X16Z

[3] “Statement by Germany, France and the United Kingdom after UN Security Council Consultations on North Korea”

https://new-york-un.diplo.de/un-en/news-corner/190801-unsc-north-korea/2236818

[4] “Spokesperson for DPRK Foreign Ministry Blames UNSC's Closed-Door Meeting,” KCNA, Aug 2, 2019

http://www.kcna.co.jp/index-e.htm Search for the article by date.

[5] President Trump’s tweet on Aug 2, 2019

https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump

[6] https://new-york-un.diplo.de/un-en/news-corner/190827-e3-dprk/2241674

 


 

Citizens’ Watch on the Implementation of Korean Denuclearization Agreements

 

Outline

In the Panmunjom Declaration at the 2018 April 27 Inter-Korean summit, the Republic of Korea (ROK, South Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, North Korea) agreed to cooperate to alleviate military tension, eliminate the danger of war and establish a permanent peace regime including a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. In the joint statement at the 2018 June 12 Singapore Summit between the United States and the DPRK, the two states set forth their common goal to establish new US-DPRK relationship for peace and prosperity and to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. In this regard, the US has committed to providing security guarantees to the DPRK, and the DPRK has committed to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

 

These two summit agreements have dramatically changed the international landscape of Northeast Asia, which was on the brink of a possible nuclear war in 2017. Now we witness ongoing dialogue between North and South Korea and between the US and the DPRK. This is a historic change. Even after two significant turning points in modern history - the end of World War II and the end of the Cold War - challenging relationships among regional states persist to this day in Northeast Asia. Disputes over damages in the DPRK caused by Japanese colonization have remained officially unsettled for more than 70 years. The Korean War has not officially ended more than 65 years after the 1953 ceasefire agreement.

 

Now is a golden opportunity to overcome these historical legacies and we want to make the best use of this favorable moment.  To that end, we believe patient diplomatic efforts by concerned states to faithfully implement the two summit agreements are vitally important to reverse the long-standing mutual distrust among states.

 

In this process of diplomatic efforts, we believe the roles of civil society, especially in Japan, South Korea, and the US, are vitally important. They need to appeal to their democratically elected governments about the importance of this opportunity and the necessity to gain an accurate understanding of previous negotiations concerning the Korean Peninsula denuclearization and to draw lessons from them. Also, all civil society constituents, including legislators, municipal leaders, and journalists, have to work diligently to eradicate distrust and biases deeply rooted in civil society.

 

Based upon such considerations, the Peace Depot Inc. has launched this project to keep close watch on the diplomatic process to realize the implementation of the summit agreements. While it seems possible to organize a joint project among NGOs in Japan, South Korea, and the US, we have decided to adopt a project plan in which citizens in each country appeal to their own governments and civil society and closely communicate with each other. This approach would be more focused and effective in consideration of the differences in the political and historical backgrounds of each civil society. Most especially, in Japan as an atomic-bombed state, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is closely linked to Japan’s inherited mission to make Japan genuinely nuclear weapon-free and to establish a Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone. We will closely cooperate with NGO colleagues working for the same cause in South Korea and the US.

 

Activities

1. Publication of “Watch Report”

- first in Japanese, then shortly after, in Korean and English

- irregular publication, roughly once every three weeks with several pages on A4 size paper

- published in a free-access blog website, as well as through a mail-magazine sent to subscribed names

2. Visits and Representations to related Governmental Offices, including the Foreign Ministry of Japan

3. Organizing occasional public seminars

4. Organizing international workshops and symposiums in cooperation with US and ROK NGOs

 

Team and Staffing

1. Project Team:

Takuya MORIYAMA, Kana HIRAI, Hiromichi UMEBAYASHI*, Ichiro YUASA, Hajime MAEKAWA, Miho ASANO, Maria KIM (ROK), Patti WILLIS (Canada)  *inaugural team leader

2. In Cooperation With:

Korea: People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), Peace Network

USA: Peace Action

Western States Legal Foundation

Advisor: Panel on Peace and Security of Northeast Asia (PSNA) (Co-Chairs: Michael HAMMEL-GREEN (Australia), Peter HAYES (USA), MOON Jong-In (ROK) and TOMONAGA Masao (Japan)

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