Mr. President,

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

Once again, the Council is meeting because of a ballistic missile launch by the DPRK. The development and operationalisation of nuclear delivery systems by the DPRK, together with its nuclear programme, represents a threat to the entire international community.

Switzerland condemns this fifth launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile this year. It takes place in a tense security situation and Switzerland is concerned about the risk of escalation inherent in such an act. The use of nuclear weapons would have catastrophic humanitarian consequences. It would be difficult to envisage their use in respect of the relevant rules of international law in general, and international humanitarian law in particular. We must strengthen our efforts in favour of non-proliferation, disarmament and the maintenance of the nuclear taboo. 

Faced with these repeated challenges, we must not waver in our collective duty. That is why this Council must shoulder its responsibilities. I would like to highlight three aspects:

Firstly, these launches are a violation of legally binding Security Council resolutions and therefore of international law. It is therefore our collective duty to condemn the DPRK's ballistic missile tests. The DPRK is obliged to implement its obligations under the resolutions of this Council and to take concrete steps to abandon its nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and related programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. We recall that while the obligations under the resolutions apply primarily to the DPRK, they also apply to all other States, which are required to effectively implement the Security Council sanctions.

Secondly, the people of the DPRK must not be ignored. Serious and systematic violations of human rights and impunity for the perpetrators must stop. There is a link between the nuclear programme and human rights abuses, and the Council should consider how it might further address this link. We welcome signs that the heavy restrictions put in place by the DPRK in relation to the pandemic are being eased. These restrictions should no longer be a major obstacle to humanitarian assistance. The opening of the DPRK's borders must go hand in hand with rapid, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian aid. To achieve this, the entry of international personnel into the DPRK is essential.

Thirdly, the Council and the United Nations as a whole have an important role to play in encouraging dialogue, de-escalation and the search for diplomatic solutions. There is a willingness to conduct and support dialogue with the DPRK and we welcome any willingness on the part of the parties to engage in dialogue and any de-escalation measures on their part. We also welcome the Secretary-General's call for good offices and encourage the DPRK to engage in constructive dialogue with the Council and the UN system.

Mr. President,

Disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation have always been a priority for the UN and this Council, and they are also a key recommendation in the New Agenda for Peace. We must not fail in this task. To find a political solution, the Council must break its silence. To be effective, the call for dialogue should be articulated around a united position. Switzerland encourages and supports all efforts in this direction.

Thank you very much.

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