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As the 70th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that brought a temporary end to the Korean War (1950-1953) approaches, so far this year, North Korea has launched 20 ballistic missiles including 4 ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles). These launches are violations of multiple Security Council resolutions; have heightened tensions in Northeast Asia and beyond; and are aimed at further perfecting and developing the DPRK's illegal WMD and ballistic missile programs.
Likewise, on May 31, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea also attempted to launch its first military satellite using ballistic missile technology. While it is in accordance with the law for any sovereign state to launch a satellite and conduct peaceful space activities, the relevant Council resolutions expressly prohibit the Pyongyang regime from conducting any launch using ballistic missile technology.
It should be noted that the estimated range of the solid fuel missile launched on July 12 ("Hwasongpho-18") could exceed 15,000 kilometers. All of Asia, Europe, North America and Africa, and even part of South America would be within the range of this launch system that could carry illegal nuclear warheads.
The stupefying silence of the United Nations Security Council has allowed North Korea to advance further with each launch in the technological development of ever more sophisticated means of delivering nuclear warheads. This situation also erodes the already shaken credibility of the United Nations considering that North Korea has conducted 90 missile launches since 2022 to date.
The silence of the Security Council is due to the unrestrained support of the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation which have not allowed since 2017 to sit North Korea down and implement measures extending the latest counterproliferation sanctions (Resolution 2397). On July 13, North Korea had to provide explanations for the previous day's launch before the Council and present its position.
Indeed, North Korea explained that asking it to account for its actions is an intrusion into the country's internal affairs and that it is within its rights to conduct military tests in the face of possible attacks by "hostile forces" on a pre-emptive basis.
China's representative during the meeting said the United States and other countries that have long considered Pyongyang a security threat are obsessed with sanctions and multilateral pressure. This, he argued, has put the DPRK under a "huge security threat," while that country's legitimate security concerns have never been addressed.
For its part, the Russian Federation, through its representative, alleged that the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan continue to escalate their regional exercises and military cooperation, while other members of the Council are trying to put this factor aside.
At this point it is necessary to explain that behind each launch, humanitarian needs are aggravated by the allocation of resources to the very costly construction of ballistic missiles. launches and the program of illegal weapons and weapons of mass destruction. For example, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that 11.8 million people are undernourished and in need of emergency assistance in the country and that the situation is especially worrisome for young children and pregnant and lactating women, who are the most vulnerable to malnutrition. It is also necessary to point out that North Koreans have the lowest minimum protein intake in the last 23 years and that around 20% of children under 5 years of age suffer from malnutrition, affecting their cognitive abilities and normal development.
It should be noted that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, North Korea has closed its borders, even under the order to shoot anyone near the border, whether trying to enter or leave the country, and that in the wake of this public health emergency, North Korea has not yet allowed the unimpeded re-entry and rotation of the international community, including United Nations personnel and the United Nations Resident Coordinator. Thus, both the eyes of the world and the diplomatic eyes of the few foreigners living in the country are unable to report and bear witness to what is happening inside.
The 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice is a reminder that sustainable peace on the Korean Peninsula remains elusive. Renewed diplomatic efforts and dialogue are needed on all sides to achieve stability and lasting peace.