Statement by Ambassador Matthew Rycroft at the UN Security Council meeting on the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea.
Thank you Mr President.
Just over a week ago, North Korea sent a brazen message of provocation, a message of belligerence – a sixth nuclear test, carried out once again in clear contempt for the Security Council, the region, and the international community.
Today, through the unanimous adoption of the resolution, we have sent a message of our own in response. Through this vote we have made clear that we will not stand idly by in the face of such aggression. That we will not be intimidated or cowed. That we will match North Korean provocations with clear, targeted consequences.
Today we have enacted strategic measures that together with existing obligations add up to the most stringent United Nations sanctions regime placed on any nation in the 21st century.
We have enacted measures today that show our determination to act. This resolution does three big things. First it will curtail gas, petrol and oil imports. Second, it will ban all textile exports, taking hundreds of millions of dollars from revenues that the North Korean regime uses to fund its nuclear and missile programmes. Third it will end future work authorisations of North Korean overseas labourers, stopping a sickening industry built on modern slavery, and used to divert funds to the regime.
So make no mistake we are tightening the screw. And we stand ready to tighten it further. Until the regime sees that diplomacy, not duplicity, is the way forward, we must use all of our diplomatic tools to bring pressure to bear on Pyongyang.
Some observers doubted that this Council would be willing or able to react speedily or in unison or even at all to this new provocation. With this Resolution we have shown that we are united in condemning this illegal and reckless act, and that we are determined that the North Korean regime change course.
The unanimous agreement today of the states around this table is a powerful step. We now call on all states to redouble their sanctions implementation, taking note of the decisions that we have made today under international law.
North Korea is engaged in a dangerous policy of provocation. Our role as a Council, and as an international community, is to constrain them so that they change course. Sanctions are a vital part of this effort.
It is the regime that bears full responsibility for the measures that we have enacted today. It is their continued, illegal and aggressive actions that have brought us here. Such actions are in no way a proportionate response to the legitimate defensive military exercises of South Korea and the United States.
There is a way out. Diplomacy can end this crisis. First North Korea must change its reckless course. There must be an end to the tests, an end to the provocations. Until North Korea changes course, we must maintain the maximum pressure possible.
Through this resolution today, we have done just that. The onus now falls on Pyongyang to do the right thing. To step back from confrontation, and to step towards de-escalation.