Seize the Historic Opportunity for Peace on the Korean Peninsula
– Remarks at Security Council Meeting on the Korean Peninsula Issue
H.E. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China
New York, 27 September 2018
This year has seen important, positive developments on the Korean Peninsula, bringing this issue back to the sound track of dialogue and negotiations.
The DPRK and the ROK have seized the opportunity of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics to achieve a turnaround in their relations, ushering in a new chapter of reconciliation and cooperation. In April, with the world looking on, leaders of the two countries stepped across the military demarcation line in Panmunjom hand-in-hand, taking the first step forward. Good news came again last week, as the two leaders held their third summit this year and signed the Pyongyang Joint Declaration. Inter-Korean relations have achieved full recovery as the two sides jointly undertook to turn the Peninsula into a peaceful homeland free of nuclear weapons and nuclear threats. China applauds the political resolve and courage of both leaders. We will firmly support the efforts of the two sides to turn their leaders’ consensus into concrete actions, build and enhance mutual trust, and advance the reconciliation and cooperation process on the Peninsula.
In June this year, the DPRK and the United States held a historic summit in Singapore. The two sides reached important common understanding on full denuclearization and the building of a peace regime on the Peninsula. This serves the interests of all parties including the DPRK and the US, and meets the fundamental need for peace and stability of the region and the shared aspiration of the international community. The DPRK and the US are now actively preparing for their second summit. China supports the DPRK and the US in maintaining dialogue and working in the same direction to secure more tangible outcomes.
China’s position on the Peninsula issue is consistent. We are committed to denuclearization, to peace and stability on the Peninsula, and to resolution through dialogue and consultations, and has made enormous efforts to this end for many years. The positive progress on the Peninsula we are seeing now is entirely in line with the objectives China has been pursuing. At this juncture, we deem it necessary for the Security Council to act on its responsibility by sending a unified and clear message for expediting the political process on the Peninsula.
All parties need to work together for a peaceful and stable Peninsula. Peace on the Peninsula is both the aspiration of the North and South and the wish of all regional countries. The Peninsula issue is essentially about security. The key to peace on the Peninsula lies in addressing the legitimate security concerns of all parties in an appropriate and balanced way. As the DPRK halts its nuclear and missile tests and gradually dismantles relevant facilities and with the US and the ROK discontinuing large-scale military exercises, an end-to-war declaration would be a timely move to disperse the dark clouds shrouding the Peninsula and demonstrate the political will against war on the Peninsula. This will go a long way to enhancing the basic trust among parties, opening a pathway to denuclearization at an early date, and creating conditions for an ultimate peace treaty. China believes that a wise political decision needs to be made in this regard.
All parties need to work together for a nuclear-weapon-free Peninsula. As an important prerequisite for permanent peace on the Peninsula, denuclearization is also an inherent requirement for safeguarding the nuclear non-proliferation regime and a shared goal of the international community. China believes that the best way forward is to pursue denuclearization and the establishment of a peace regime in tandem through a dual-track approach, whereby the two objectives would be mutually reinforcing and will be achieved at the same time. The DPRK and the US remain the protagonists in moving things forward, and all stakeholders are also duty-bound to do their parts. The Six-Party Talks have played an important role in the past, and should remain an indispensable multilateral platform in the future. The UN Security Council should also forge a common position in a timely fashion to provide support and international guarantee in this process.
All parties need to work together for a Peninsula of win-win cooperation. Ultimately, denuclearization should serve to deliver greater prosperity, peace and happiness to the people on the Peninsula and the broader region. For decades, cooperation on the Peninsula has made little progress due to all kinds of disruptions. This year, the DPRK has made a major decision to reorient its national policy toward economic development, which should be welcomed and supported by the international community. As the denuclearization process unfolds, parties could conduct practical cooperation to improve people’s livelihood in areas where conditions are met, provided that such cooperation does not breach Security Council resolutions. We hope that the day when denuclearization is finally achieved will also be a time for the Peninsula to embrace development and prosperity.
Acting on its duties entrusted by the UN Charter, the Security Council has adopted several DPRK-related resolutions, which should continue to be implemented comprehensively, to the letter and in their entirety as long as they remain effective. China firmly believes that exerting pressure is not an end in itself. Implementing the sanctions and promoting political resolution are both called for in the Security Council resolutions. The two should proceed in parallel, with neither one undercutting or replacing the other.
Security Council resolutions contain reversible clauses, which provide for adjustments to the sanctions in light of the DPRK’s compliance. Given the positive developments in the inter-Korean and DPRK-US relations and the DPRK’s important commitments and actions on denuclearization, China believes it necessary for the Security Council to consider invoking the reversible provisions at an appropriate time to encourage the DPRK and other relevant parties to take bigger steps toward denuclearization.
This year marks the 65th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement. To achieve complete denuclearization and establish a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula is not only China’s consistent position, but also a broad consensus in the international community. China calls on all parties to demonstrate political courage, advance dialogue and negotiations, and jointly build lasting peace on the Peninsula. China will continue to make its due contribution to this end.
Thank you, Mr. President.