Thank you Mr President.
North Korea is no longer a threat faced by a single country or a single region. It is instead a threat that confronts us all. These two tests in the last month were of an intercontinental missile, extending the threat much further than before, to many more countries. In a world where North Korean missile tests seem routine, let me be clear: this is not business as usual.
Make no mistake, as North Korea’s missile capabilities advance, so too does their contempt and disregard for this Security Council. We must meet this belligerence with clear, unequivocal condemnation and with clear, unequivocal consequences.
Today Mr. President, we have banned North Korean exports of coal, iron ore, lead and seafood. These are the lifeline exports that sustain Kim Jong-Un’s deadly aspirations. In simple terms, should the North Korean regime continue its reckless pursuit of an illegal missile programme and a deadly nuclear programme, they will have vastly less resources to do so.
We have also capped the number of foreign workers from North Korea. Every year DPRK sends thousands of ordinary workers overseas. They often endure poor conditions and long hours, and their toil serves to provide critical foreign currency for North Korean government coffers. This is undoubtedly a form of modern slavery and today we have taken the first step to ending it. The world will now monitor and curtail work authorisations for these desperate expatriates.
And for those who are already a victim of this abusive system, trust that the United Kingdom will continue to work toward a complete end to North Korea’s institutionalized modern slavery.
North Korea bears full responsibility for the measures we have enacted today. By acting in flagrant violation of its legal obligations, by going against the will of the Security Council expressed in countless Resolutions, North Korea has chosen the path it now finds itself on. It is a path that, at a minimum, will lead to the further suffering for its own people, and at most could prove to be catastrophic for the whole world.
It does not have to be this way. North Korea should forgo the path of provocation; forgo the path of further escalation. There is no reason why the people of North Korea cannot share the normal, prosperous life of their neighbours. The world would welcome them, not threaten them.
So in this Chamber let us once again call on North Korea to halt and reverse its nuclear and missile development programmes. Let us once again call on them to prioritise the well being of their people over their illegal and destabilising military programmes.
North Korea’s security and wellbeing do not depend on nuclear weapons. They do not depend on far reaching missiles. They do not depend on a myth of self-sufficient defiance of the wider world. To live in constant tension with the world cannot be in the interests of North Korea’s regime, let alone its people.
We have taken a step forward. We have spoken with a unified voice that we are ready to act in an unprecedented way in response to North Korea’s reckless nuclear pursuit. Every country must ensure that these measures are adhered to. Every country must live up to our word. This time there is too much at stake. We simply cannot afford to fail.