Question No. 165
Parliamentary Question - Oireachtas
To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps the government is taking along with the international community to de-escalate tension between the United States and North Korea; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Darragh O'Brien.
* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 24th October, 2017.
Ref No: 44887/17
The situation on the Korean Peninsula is a matter of grave concern to the government. The latest actions taken by North Korea, particularly the nuclear test on 3 September, are a major challenge to international efforts to advance global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. This has been a longstanding goal of Ireland’s foreign policy. Our leadership on this critical global issue was given most recent expression when Ireland co-chaired the 31st Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) Plenary Meeting in Dublin last week.
The deeply worrying developments in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes present a real threat to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, the entire North East Asia region, and indeed beyond. Such actions represent a flagrant and provocative violation of North Korea’s international obligations not to conduct such tests. I have unreservedly condemned such actions.
The government’s concerns are shared by EU partners. The Foreign Affairs Council adopted Council Conclusions on North Korea on 17 July this year. The Council stressed that lasting peace and the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula must be achieved through peaceful means. It highlighted the importance of the unity of the international community in addressing this challenge.
At its most recent meeting on 16 October, the Foreign Affairs Council adopted new EU autonomous restrictive measures against North Korea to further increase pressure on the regime to comply with its obligations. The measures complement and reinforce UN Security Council sanctions. The Foreign Affairs Council also agreed to actively lobby for a robust implementation of all relevant UN Security Council resolutions on the part of all UN member states.
The United Nations General Assembly in New York in September presented an opportunity for the international community to further demonstrate its resolve in this regard, and I conveyed Ireland’s grave concern about ongoing developments. I unreservedly condemned North Korea’s programme of missile and nuclear weapon testing in my address to the United Nations General Assembly.
Most recently this resolve to implement the sanctions regime was re-affirmed by the European Council on 19 October, and a commitment was made to consider further responses in close consultation with partners.
Throughout, we have been very clear in stating that North Korea must cease the series of provocative acts that have contributed to growing instability in the region and further afield. It must re-engage with discussions on the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, immediately and without pre-conditions. It must abandon its programmes to develop ballistic missiles, nuclear capabilities and weapons of mass destruction. It must carry out these processes in a manner that is complete, verifiable and irreversible.
Ireland fully supports the international sanctions regime against North Korea, and emphasises that continued disregard of its international obligations will only lead to increased diplomatic isolation. We believe greater emphasis should be placed on effective implementation of the sanctions regime, but further sanctions cannot be ruled out.
The deteriorating situation on the Korean Peninsula can only be resolved by peaceful means, and we have repeatedly underscored the urgent need for dialogue between all stakeholders. We will continue to be a strong voice for a peaceful outcome, and we will work closely with our international partners to this end.