By Matthew Russell Lee, New PlatformUNITED NATIONS, April 28 – When US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke on North Korea in the UN Security Council on the morning of April 28, he called on countries to break diplomatic relations with the country. By day's end, or Saturday in Pyongyang, North Korea fired another missile, triggering this one-liner from Washington: "The Administration is aware of the most recent North Korean missile test. The President has been briefed." At noon, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I'm sure you heard Rex Tillerson say the country should suspend diplomatic relations with North Korea. And I wanted to know… given an answer you'd… earlier in the week, you'd said how diplomatic relations are in all instances a good thing. That was in response to a question about Morocco and Cuba. So, what is Antonio Guterres' response to Rex Tillerson's call to suspend diplomatic relations?
Spokesman: I think Antonio Guterres' position on the DPRK, I think, has been elaborated very clearly in his own remarks to the Council a few minutes ago, where he underscored the fact that the onus was on the DPRK to abide by its institutions — by its obligations… international obligations, but also stressing the need for a diplomatic solution.
Inner City Press: Right. But, does that involve…?
Spokesman: That's my answer to your question.
Inner City Press: No. But, it's a specific… Does he favour suspending diplomatic relations?
Spokesman: No. No. I understand your question. You'll have to understand my answer. The Secretary-General favors diplomatic solutions.
Inner City Press: So, he doesn't favour it?
Carmen indeed. As speeches continued, the UN sent out Sweden's speech, which included a line: "diplomatic relations constitutes the basis for our efforts and must be upheld in accordance with the Vienna Convention." See Patreon here . Then the UN sent out a "revised" Swedish speech with the line about upholding diplomat relations removed. Also Patreon here. Call it the Tillerson effect. Some background: when Sweden got involved in an "Elected Ten" draft on Syria, the US sources tell Inner City Press questioned the move. Did that play any role in Sweden's "revised" speech? We'll have more on this.
China's Wang Yi, who spoke at the Council stakeout before the meeting differed (Inner City Press Periscope here). He proposed suspension for suspension.