“ROK and NATO Can Share Best Practices in Furthering Our Respective Deterrence Mechanisms” On the Basis of Our Close Partnership
Vice Minister Ahn Chong-ghee
The following are excerpts from the statement by 2nd Vice Minister Ahn Chongghee of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea at the NATO's North Atlantic Council special meeting on North Koran nuclear issue, held on Dec. 16, 2016, at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. - Ed.
Our partnership proved its strength on the ground. the Republic of Korea (ROK) has been a proud partner to NATO in contributing to the consolidation of peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan. Korea actively took part in the NATO-led ISAF (The International Security Assistance Force):and contributed US$500 million from 2011 to date in support of the security and socio-economic development of Afghanistan. Furthermore, my government pledged an additional US$255 million at the Warsaw Summit and Brussels Afghanistan Conference this year. Likewise, NATO has indeed been a strong and reliable partner for Korea in countering North Korea's rapidly growing nuclear and missile threats. NATO expressed its strong collective will in a series of statements condemning North Korea's provocations and calling for its complete compliance of the international obligations. We are greatly encouraged that the Leaders of NATO member countries renewed their strong consistent message in the Warsaw Summit Communique in this regard. The North Korean nuclear issue strikes at the very core of global non-proliferation regime and has grave security implications for NATO. Resolving the North Korean nuclear problem is essential, which has been one of the foremost objectives of the international community and NATO. What is alarming is that North Korea is advancing its capabilities at a much faster pace than anyone has expected. Since October, North Korea has conducted two additional ballistic missile launches and publicly threatened to take forceful countermeasures in anticipation of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2321. Kim Jung-un gave orders to "wipe out South Korea" and attended a large-scale simulation of a military attack on the Presidential office of the ROK, the Blue House. By showing off its destructive operation deliberately targeting the head of state, the level of North Korea's provocation against the ROK is unprecedented. An extraordinary approach is necessary against an extraordinary regime that is madly obsessed with the development of WMD with complete disregard for the welfare of its people. This is also a lesson learned by the international community from over 20 years of experience in North Korea's deception and broken promises. In carrying out such extraordinary measures, the role of NATO member countries could not be more important. Indeed, North Korea has shown extreme uneasiness toward the measures taken by European countries. In particular, North Korea reacted violently when the European Union designated North Korea as a high-risk money laundering and terrorist financing state in July this year and when the ROK-US-UK air force conducted a combined exercise "Invincible Shield" in November. The ROK hopes NATO members and partner countries will play a key role in the following three aspects: First, we need to combine a seamless implementation of U.N. Security Council resolution 2321 with additional autonomous sanctions. From March through November, we estimate that North Korea suffered a loss of approximately US$200 million due to factors such as the closing of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, deterioration of its trade balance, limitations on maritime activities, and reduced employment of overseas North Korean workers. To give you an idea of the impact of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2321, its most notable feature is the binding cap on North Korea's coal export, which is expected to cut North Korea's revenue from coal by approximately US$700 million, or more than 60%, per year compared to 2015. It also bans North Korea's export of four additional metals and statues which previously provided approximately US$100 million plus to the regime annually. North Korea's overall loss of hard currency under Resolution 2321 is projected at more than US$800 million per annum. With the Security Council sanctions resolution taking full effect, along with new autonomous measures, North Korea will be more likely to change its calculus and rethink its nuclear ambitions. In this vein, Korea, the United States and Japan coordinated their efforts in amplifying the effects of the new resolution by synchronizing announcement of new individual sanctions against North Korea at the same time early this month. The ROK and the United States added North Korean agencies responsible for exporting coal and sending North Korean workers overseas to their respective sanctions list. Also, the ROK, the United States and Japan designated a Chinese firm and individuals that had transactions with the entities on the U.N. sanctions list. These measures complement and further reinforce the effectiveness of resolution 2321. Second, we need to take a holistic approach to further isolate and increase pressure on North Korea. The North Korean nuclear conundrum cannot be separated from a number of North Korean problems such as human rights, overseas slave labor and an information black-out. In this regard, it is noteworthy that the new Resolution 2321 includes the possible suspension of the exercise of its rights and privileges of U.N. membership, and emphasizes the problem of human rights violations of North Korean overseas workers in the operative paragraph for the first time. Over 70 countries and international organizations have delayed or halted the exchange of high-level officials, opening of diplomatic missions, and other projects with North Korea. Poland, Malta and other countries have stopped issuing visas to North Korean workers this year. In the resolution adopted by the U.N. General Assembly Third Committee in November, issues such as North Korean overseas workers and the responsibility of its leadership were included for the first time. The U.N. Security Council has taken up North Korean human rights issues on its agenda for three consecutive years and has discussed the nexus between human rights violations and its nuclear weapons and missiles development. North Korea is in a perpetual state of flagrant violation of numerous international laws across many areas. We hope that as guardians of international norms, the European countries will lead the robust action of the international community to ensure North Korea respects its international obligations. Lastly, the ROK hopes that Korea and NATO will make concrete progress on the suggestion made by Minister Yun with regard to the sharing of practices in optimizing extended deterrence mechanisms against nuclear threats. On the basis of our close partnership, I hope that the ROK and NATO can share best practices in furthering our respective deterrence mechanisms. With a wealth of experience as an exceptional negotiator on non-proliferation issues, I know we are in good hands. I am confident that under her leadership, NATO will not only successfully address Europe's urgent and challenging issues, but also make more contribution in resolving North Korean nuclear problem.