Mr. President,

We thank Assistant Secretary-General Khiari for his presentation and welcome the participation of the representatives of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea in our deliberations.

Switzerland has observed with great concern the launch by the DPRK of a military observation satellite, after two attempts earlier this year, using ballistic missile technology. We note that this latest launch was carried out ahead of the time indicated in the notice to Japanese authorities, thus voiding the warning of its purpose. Switzerland condemns any launch using ballistic missile technology as a violation of the resolutions of this Council. The Council must not remain passive in the face of these tests which, together with the DPRK's nuclear programme, constitute a threat to international peace and security.

Allow me to emphasise three points:

Firstly, any launch using ballistic missile technology is a violation of international law, namely of Security Council resolutions. As we discussed at our meetings in June and August, the issues of rocket payload or pre-announcement are not decisive in this situation. This Council should therefore condemn and respond to these launches. We reiterate our call on the DPRK to renounce any future attempts to launch ballistic missiles.

Secondly, while the obligations arising from the resolutions apply first and foremost to the DPRK, they also apply to all States, which are required to effectively implement the Security Council's sanctions. In addition, as parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, we are obliged to combat the proliferation of nuclear weapons. As a matter of principle, cooperation projects in the fields of space and armaments are incompatible with compliance with Security Council sanctions, unless previously exempted by the 1718 Committee. Attempts to legitimise the pursuit of a nuclear programme, by the DPRK itself or by other states, require our continued vigilance: we must commit ourselves to disarmament and to maintaining the nuclear taboo.

Thirdly, let us not forget the plight of the people of the DPRK. The serious and systematic violations of human rights and the impunity of the perpetrators must stop. We welcome signs that the heavy restrictions put in place by the DPRK in connection with the pandemic are being eased. These restrictions are a major obstacle to humanitarian aid and to the respect and exercise of human rights. The opening of the DPRK's borders must go hand in hand with rapid, safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid. To achieve this, the entry of international personnel into the DPRK is essential.

Mr. President,

This Council plays an indispensable role in encouraging dialogue, de-escalation and the exploration of diplomatic solutions. We must strengthen, not weaken, the few confidence-building measures, in particular those aimed at reducing the risk of a military confrontation, such as the 2018 agreement between the two Koreas. As recommended by the New Agenda for Peace, we must reverse the erosion of international norms aimed at preventing the spread and use of nuclear weapons. We must also strengthen prevention and mediation, and we encourage the UN to step up its efforts in this area. This will facilitate the implementation of a peaceful, comprehensive and lasting solution to the situation on the Korean peninsula. We have a common goal and a shared responsibility in this respect. Switzerland will continue its commitment to peace and stability in the DPRK.

Thank you.

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