Saturday, April 29, 2017

On North Korea, Tillerson Tells UNSC Break Diplomatic Relations, No More Guest Workers

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, April 28 – When US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke on North Korea in the UN Security Council on April 28, he called on countries to break diplomatic relations with the country and suspend guest worker programs. China's Wang Yi, who spoke at the Council stakeout before the meeting differed (Inner City Press Periscope here). He proposed suspension for suspension. Here's what Tillerson said: "Thank you for the opportunity to address the Security Council.
According to UN Security Council Resolution 2321, a stated objective of this Council is the North Korea’s abandonment of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

For the past 20 years, well-intentioned diplomatic efforts to halt these programs have failed. It is only by first dismantling them that there can be peace, stability, and economic prosperity for all of Northeast Asia.

With each successive detonation and missile test, North Korea pushes Northeast Asia and the world closer to instability and broader conflict.

The threat of a North Korean nuclear attack on Seoul, or Tokyo, is real.
And it is likely only a matter of time before North Korea develops the capability to strike the U.S. mainland.

Indeed, the DPRK has repeatedly claimed it plans to conduct such a strike. Given that rhetoric, the United States cannot idly stand by. Nor can other members of this Council who are within striking distance of North Korean missiles.
Having for years displayed a pattern of behavior that defies multiple U.N. Security Council Resolutions, including 2321 and 2270, and erodes global progress on nuclear non-proliferation, there is no reason to think that North Korea will change its behavior under the current multilateral sanctions framework.
For too long, the international community hasbeen reactive in addressing North Korea. Those days must come to an end.
Failing to act now on the most pressing security issue in the world may bring catastrophic consequences.

We have said this before and it bears repeating: the policy of strategic patience is over.Additional patience will only mean acceptance of a nuclear North Korea.

The more we bide our time, the sooner we will run out of it.
In light of the growing threat, the time has come for all of us to put new pressure on North Korea to abandon its dangerous path.
I urge this Council to act before North Korea does.
We must work together to adopt a new approachand impose increased diplomatic and economic pressure on the North Korean regime.
The new campaign the United States is embarking on is driven by our own national security considerations, and it is welcomed by many nations who are concerned for their own security, and question why North Korea clings to nuclear capabilities for which it has no need.
Our goal is not regime change. Nor do we desire to threaten the North Korean people or destabilize the Asia Pacific region. Over the years we have withdrawn our own nuclear weapons from South Korea and offered aid to North Korea as proof of our intent to de-escalate the situation and normalize relations. Since 1995, the United States has provided over $1.3 billion dollars in aid to North Korea, and we look forward to resuming our contributions once the DPRK begins to dismantle its nuclear weapons and missile technology programs.
The DPRK, for its own sake, must dismantle its nuclear and missile programs if it wants to achieve the security, economic development, and international recognition it seeks. North Korea must understand that respect will never follow recklessness. North Korea must take concrete steps to reduce the threat that its illegal weapons programs pose to the United States and our allies before we can consider talks.
I propose all nations take these three actions beginning today:
First, we call on U.N. member states to fully implement the commitments they have maderegarding North Korea. This includes all measures required in Resolutions 2321 and 2270.
Those nations which have not fully enforced these resolutions fully discredit this body.
Second, we call on countries to suspend or downgrade diplomatic relations with North Korea. North Korea exploits diplomatic privileges to fund its illicit nuclear and missile technology programs, and constraining its diplomatic activity will cut off a flow of needed resources. In light of North Korea’s recent actions, normal relations with the DPRK are unacceptable.
Third, we must increase North Korea’s financial isolation. We must levy new sanctions on DPRK entities and individuals supporting its weapons and missile programs, and tighten those already in place. The United States also would much prefer countries and people in question own up to their lapses and correct their behavior themselves, but we will not hesitate to sanction third country entities and individuals supporting the DPRK’s illegal activities.
We must bring maximum economic pressure by severing trade relationships that indirectly fundthe DPRK’s nuclear and missile program. I call on the international community to suspend the flow of North Korean guest workers and to impose bans on North Korean imports, and especially coal.
We must all do our share, but with China accounting for 90% of North Korean trade, China alone has economic leverage over Pyongyang that is unique, and its role is therefore particularly important. The U.S. and China have held productive exchanges on this issue, and we look forward to further actions that build on what China has already done.
Lastly, as we have said before, all options for responding to future provocation must remain on the table. Diplomatic and financial levers of power will be backed up by a willingness to counteract North Korean aggression with military action if necessary. We much prefer a negotiated solution to this problem. But we are committed to defending ourselves and our allies against North Korean aggression.

This new pressure campaign will be swiftly implemented and painful to North Korean interests.
I realize some nations for which a relationshipwith North Korea has been in some ways a net positive may be disinclined to implement the measures of pressure on North Korea.
But the catastrophic effects of a North Korean nuclear strike outweigh any economic benefits. We must be willing to face the hard truths and make hard choices right now to prevent disastrous outcomes in the future.
Business as usual is not an option.
There is also a moral dimension to this problem. Countries must know by now that helping theNorth Korean regime means enabling cruelty and suffering.
North Korea feeds billions of dollars into a nuclear program it does not need while its own people starve.
The regime’s pursuit of nuclear weapons does not serve its own national security or the well-being of a people trapped in tyranny.
I ask the community of nations to help us preserve security and protect human dignity.

In one of my first trips as America’s Secretary of State, I looked across the DMZ at the haunted land of North Korea. Beyond the border is a nation of sorrow, frozen in time.

While the world sees the gleaming buildings of Pyongyang, the blight of oppression and starvation has swept the land for over sixty years.
But even though the present condition of that country is bleak, the United States believes in a future for North Korea. These first steps toward a more hopeful future will happen most quickly if other stakeholders in regional and global security join us.
For years, North Korea has been dictating the terms of its dangerous course of action.
It is time for us to retake control of the situation.
We ask the members of this Council and all other partners to implement a new strategy to de-nuclearize North Korea.
Thank you."
Inner City Press reported Russia's Sergey Lavrov would not attend but other foreign ministers, from South Korea, the UK, Kazakshan and for some reason Argentina will be meeting with UNSG Guterres in the afternoon and Inner City Press will cover it, including with Periscope.
After North Korea's last missile launch, on April 20 the UN Security Council after some back and forth agreed on a Press Statement, here: "The members of the Security Council strongly condemned the most recent ballistic missile launch conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on 15 April 2017. The members of the Security Council expressed their utmost concern over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s highly destabilising behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance of the Security Council by conducting this ballistic missile launch in violation of its international obligations under United Nations Security Council resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), and 2321 (2016).

The members of the Security Council demanded that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea shall immediately cease further actions in violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions and comply fully with its obligations under these resolutions.

The members of the Security Council agreed that the Security Council would continue to closely monitor the situation and take further significant measures including sanctions, in line with the Council’s previously expressed determination.

The members of the Security Council stressed that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s illegal ballistic missile activities are contributing to its development of nuclear weapons delivery systems and are greatly increasing tension in the region and beyond. The members of the Security Council further regretted that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is diverting resources to the pursuit of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons while Democratic People’s Republic of Korea citizens have great unmet needs.
The members of the Security Council emphasised the vital importance of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea immediately showing sincere commitment to denuclearization and stressed the importance of working to reduce tensions in the Korean Peninsula and beyond. To that end, the Security Council demanded the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea conduct no further nuclear tests. The members of the Security Council strongly urged all Member States to significantly accelerate their efforts to implement fully the measures imposed on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by the Security Council, particularly the comprehensive measures contained in resolutions 2321 (2016) and 2270 (2016).  The members of the Security Council reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in North-East Asia at large, expressed their commitment to a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation, and welcomed efforts by Council members, as well as other States, to facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue. "
With tension mounting around North Korea, the nation's founder's 105th birthday passed with highly synchronized parade in Pyongyang, amid news Kim Jong Un wants at least 600,000 people to evacuate the city. USS Carl Vinson is in Korean waters. Now Sunday morning there comes news of a missile launch failure, from Sinpo. But in testing such weapons, failures are necessary. Nothing yet from the UN; Secretary General Antonio Guterres has nothing on his public schedule on Monday, April 17 either. Froms the US: "The President and his military team are aware of North Korea's most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The President has no further comment." We'll have more on this. Back on March 13 when North Korea held a press conference at the UN, they said they've asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to organize an international forum of legal experts about what they say is the illegality of UN Security Council sanctions on them, but that Guterres has not replied. 
  Minutes later Inner City Press asked Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric, a holdover from the UN's Ban Ki-moon era, about DPRK's request to Guterres. Dujarric said he wasn't aware of it but would check. Inner City Press specifically asked to be informed one way or another. From the UN transcript: 
Inner City Press: just a few minutes ago, the delegation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) talked about a request they made to António Guterres to organize an international forum of legal experts on the sanctions against them by the Security Council, and they say there's been no answer.  Are you aware of the request?

Spokesman:  I mean, I just… I was listening as I was preparing for the briefing.  We'll follow up on what was said.

Inner City Press:  Okay.  And can we find out whether there…?

Spokesman:  We will, of course, find out.
Inner City Press:  Okay.  But, will you tell us?

Spokesman:  Depends what we find out.
   Four hours later, nothing from Dujarric's office except another announcement of a meeting of a group to whom Dujarric "lent" the UN Press Briefing Room from which for whom Dujarric evicted Inner City Press, see this UN "note verbale" to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, at Paragraphs 9-10.
   In the press conference before the day's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked if North Korea could foresee any role for Guterres (as the Securty Council's president for March Matthew Rycroft said on March 8) but the duo didn't answer that question, nor Inner City Press' request for a comment on the court ruling in South Korea finally impeaching President Park (Ban Ki-moon, still desperate to be relevant, did comment.) They denied killing Kim Jong Nam and said they will continue bolstering self-reliance capability for preemption with nuclear force. Then they left.
   The UN Security Council met on the morning of March 8 after North Korea fired more missiles. Afterward Council president Matthew Rycroft of the UK alluded to a role for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. But when the Ambassadors of South Korea, the US and Japan came out together, as before under Samantha Power, they did not answer the Press question about a role for the UN Secretary General. It is theater, some say, doing these meetings in the UN. These are questions we will pursue.
   On the evening of March 7, the UK and Japan tweeted that a Council Press Statement had already been issued. The UN Spokesperson's Office didn't send it out until 50 minutes later, still UNexplained. 
 On March 7, the UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq denied to Inner City Press that the UN statement on the launch labeled "amendment" was, in fact, an amendment. Video here.
At the March 6 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked the UN spokesperson, "I just wanted to know whether you have a comment yet on the missile firings by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea." Spokesman Farhan Haq replied, "we deplore the continued violation of Security Council resolutions by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, including the most recent launches of ballistic missiles.  The DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] leadership should refrain from further provocations and return to full compliancewith its international obligations.  And if we have any further reaction or statement later in the afternoon, of course, we'll share that with you as it happens, but we're evaluating the situation as of right now."
  But after this answer to Inner City Press, apparently there was a rethink. Later the UN Spokesperson's Office sent out an "amendment" which dropped the word "return," thusly: "The Secretary-General reiterates his call for the DPRK leadership to refrain from further provocations and comply fully with its international obligations." No more "return." Who complained? 
 On March 7, Inner City Press asked Haq about the change, and got only denial and obfuscation. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: on DPRK.  Yesterday, I’d asked you about the missile launches and you said… I’ll look it up.  You said somehow… there was a line you said that… that the call was to return to full compliance with its international obligations.  And then, later, there was a written statement, sort of amending that without using the word “return.”  So I just wanted to understand, what… what came between the two?  Did somebody complain about the use of the word “return”?  Is it the UN’s position… you sent out an amended statement yesterday.  So I’m wondering, just what… what triggered the amendment?

Deputy Spokesman:  The amended statement… if you compare the two statements, there’s a very small difference in the words, basically because it’s believed that the wording as it was amended was somewhat more precise.  It’s not because of an amendment.  Basically, the wrong draft… the two drafts were very similar, and the wrong draft was posted, and we quickly caught that and put the right draft up.

Inner City Press: But I’m actually going… I’m talking about the transcript of yesterday’s briefing, was it similar to the first one that was put out?  And I just… there’s a substantive thing behind it.  I wanted to know, is it the UN amending itself to say that they were never in compliance and so to call to a return to compliance is wrong…? That’s the word that’s missing.  [inaudible]

Deputy Spokesman:  No, no.  It’s nothing like that.  When I came to the briefing, I didn’t have a statement.  I knew that a statement was coming up down the line, but I didn’t have that language to go on, and so the language came later in the day.
  Ironically, later in the briefing, Haq returned to using the word "return." Watch this site.
North Korea denounced that "U.S. imperialists and the south Korean puppet warmongers kicked off joint military exercises for aggression against the DPRK." In the UN lobby on the morning of March 6, a North Korean diplomat asked Inner City Press, what is more threatening, these four missiles or the US aircraft carriers? 
 Now Inner City Press has published DPRK's letters to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, on abductions, here, and to the UK as UNSC President, here.
On the evening of March 6, the US Mission to the UN said that "[f]ollowing the request by Japan and the United States, consultations on Non-Proliferation/DPRK will take place during the morning of Wednesday 8 March. At the request of the SRSG, Syria consultations will now take place at 3pm on Wednesday, rather than at 10 am."
 The North Korea launch and request came while the UN Security Council, at least most members, are in Nigeria. They are set to meet in New York on Wednesday, March 8 about Syria - and now, North Korea. Will a Press Statement come faster and more detailed, given the argument that these launches make China more angry as they tend to justify the THAAD deployment China opposes? As Inner City Press first reported, the new North Korea sanctions report by the UN Panel of Exports, which Inner City Press puts online in full here, lists not only weapons sales to Egypt and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and cites Sudan and Sri Lanka - but also has this on Nigeria, which the UN Security Council is currently visiting: "Malaysia-Korea Partners Group of Companies lists as one of its mainactivities overseas construction, including of statues, in Africa. The company’s promotional video states that its 'formula for success is a powerful mix of Malaysian products and Korean labour and technology.' One of the company’s construction projects is the renovation of the embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in Nigeria." Note 195.
  The Security Council and the correspondents invited to cover its trip didn't in Cameroon address the abuse of Anglophones in that country. Will they be checking in on this other issues ostensibly of so much concern?
 Sudan was removed from some UN sanctions just before January 21. From Paragraph 106: "the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea supplied 100 122-mm precision guided rocket control sections and 80 air attack satellite guided missiles (AGP-250, for ground attack) to Sudan Master Technology Engineering Company in two contracts of 29 August 2013, worth €5,144,075 and signed by reported KOMID president Mr. Kang Myong Chol (alias Pak Han Se), using a reported KOMID front company, Chosun Keuncheon Technology Trade Company. The Member State provided travel information on KOMID officials responsible for the contracts. The Sudan has not responded to the Panel’s enquiries."
In paragraph 103 of the report is it recounted that "a diplomat of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea named Mr. Kim Hyok Chan, and another Angola-based diplomat named as a Green Pine representative, Mr. Jon Chol Young, traveled together to Sri Lanka three times (between 2014 and 2016) to discuss shipbuilding projects. Described as boat-building experts, they reportedly met with the State Minister of Defence of Sri Lanka on 5 November 2015 to discuss building naval patrol vessels at a Sri Lankan shipyard prior to sale to its navy. The Panel has yet to receive a reply from Sri Lanka."
   More than 24 hours after North Korea's missile launch, and that government calling it a success, Japan's Mission to the UN tweeted that it had requested an urgent UN Security Council meeting along with South Korea and the United States.
  And even before the meeting a Press Statement was agreed to. Sweden tweeted it first; Inner City Press asked the Council's president for February Ukraine to confirm it was agreed before the meeting and they did.
  Inner City Press asked Japan's Ambassador Koro Bessho if any member had brought up the THAAD missile deployment by the US in South Korea. He told Inner City Press to ask the country it thinks may have raised it. Watch this site.
  While that meeting took place, this from US Ambassador Nikki Haley on the North Korean Missile launch: “We call on all members of the Security Council to use every available resource to make it clear to the North Korean regime – and its enablers – that these launches are unacceptable. It is time to hold North Korea accountable – not with our words, but with our actions.”
  Under Samantha Power, the US Mission was selective in how it doled out information, and ignored the UN's eviction and ongoing restriction on the Press which reports on UN corruption.  This should be changing, but hasn't yet. Watch this site.

After North Korea conducted its last  nuclear test, the UN Security Council met on September 9 and issued a Press Statement.

  Inner City Press asked South Korea's then-Ambassador Oh Joon (who went on to support Ban Ki-moon's failed campaign for South Korea's presidency) if the THAAD deployment didn't in some sense escalate things. Pressed, Oh Joon said, “China's nuclear deterrence doesn't have anything to do with this issue.”

Now on November 30 a new resolution passed 15-0 (full text on Scribd here), after the US election, with the Obama administration and US Power and Mission in lame duck status.

Both China and Russia spoke against the deployment of the THAAD system in South Korea. But even the word wasn't mentioned in the three questions pre-picked by Samantha Power's spokesman (Reuters, Kyoto, KBS), much less in the answers. More was said of South Korean Ambassador Oh Joon flying to Korea tonight - to work on a Ban Ki-moon presidential campaign? Inner City Press asked, but it was not answered at the end.

Ban Ki-moon came to speak, which he doesn't do on other countries - essentially, video for a run for President of South Korea. US Samantha Power, when she mentioned the ban on monuments sales, cited only Robert Mugabe and Laurent Kabila, not those of other US allies.

Afterward at the stakeout, asked by KBS what chance these new “statue” sanctions have of stopping North Korea, Power made dubious analogies to sanctions not only on Iran but also South Africa and Serbia. It's a problem from hell, including these unfettered journalists who want to ask non pre-picked questions...

  But it'd be “prohibiting member states from buying North Korean made statues. The DPRK has developed a cottage industry building statues in numerous African states, mostly via the Pyongyang-based Mansundae Art Studio. Mansudae’s work can be seen in Cambodia, Angola, Benin, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, and Togo.”