Time to reconsider North Korea’s UN membership, South says
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se accused North Korea on Thursday of “totally ridiculing” the authority of the United Nations through its nuclear and missile tests and said it was time to reconsider whether it was qualified for UN membership.
In an address to the annual United Nations General Assembly, Yun said the UN security Council should adopt “stronger, comprehensive” sanctions on North Korea after its fifth nuclear test on September 9 and close loopholes in existing measures.
“North Korea’s repeated violations and non-compliance of Security Council resolutions and international norms is unprecedented and has no parallel in the history of the UN,” Yun said.
“North Korea is totally ridiculing the authority of the General Assembly and the Security Council,” he said. “Therefore, I believe it is high time to seriously reconsider whether North Korea is qualified as a peace-loving UN member, as many countries are already questioning.”
Yun said North Korea had not only advanced its nuclear and missile capacity, but publicly threatened to use those weapons pre-emptively. He said it was the “last chance” to put a brake on its nuclear ambitions.
Yun also called for action against North Korea’s violations of the rights of its own people, and said there should be greater focus on North Korean workers abroad and the possible diversion of their wages to weapons programmes.
Discussions are already under way on a possible new UN sanctions resolution on North Korea after its latest nuclear test.
Analysts and diplomats say much depends on China’s attitude.
China is North Korea’s main ally, but has been angered by its repeated missile and nuclear tests and backed tough UN sanctions on Pyongyang in March. At the same time, it has repeatedly called for a return to international talks to resolve the issue, in spite of the scepticism of other world powers.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) told the General Assembly on Wednesday countries must remain committed to denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, while seeking a solution to the North Korean nuclear issue through dialogue.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday the threat posed by North Korea was “substantially more serious” than in the past and demanded an “entirely distinct” response.
Meanwhile, South Korea on Friday ruled out giving aid to flood-hit North Korea, saying leader Kim Jong-un would claim credit for any assistance following what Pyongyang calls the “worst disaster” since the second world war.
If Seoul gave any help, “Kim Jong-un would take all undue credit for it”, Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-Hee told journalists in Seoul.
“Under these circumstances, I cannot shed the feeling that outside aid would be all in vain,” he said while answering a question on whether the South would respond to appeals for aid.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse