Permanent Mission of Australia
to the United Nations
New York

220608 - UN General Assembly: Agenda Item 124 - 'Special Report of the Security Council (A/76/853), Non-Proliferation/Democratic People's Republic of Korea'


8 June 2022

Statement by H.E. The Hon. Mitch Fifield, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations

This meeting is occurring because the Member States in this chamber decided to act by enacting the veto initiative, a new mechanism for transparency and accountability. It is an important day for the UN.

Colleagues, Australia strongly condemns the ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The DPRK’s unprecedented tempo of destabilising ballistic missile tests since September 2021 amounts to a series of clear violations of multiple UN Security Council resolutions. This pattern of activity has included a resumption of intercontinental ballistic missile launches and the latest event, a salvo of eight ballistic missiles, on 5 June. 

The DPRK’s apparent preparations to undertake a nuclear test at Punggye-ri is deeply concerning. Further nuclear testing by the DPRK would pose an unacceptable threat to global peace and security. And to international non-proliferation and disarmament efforts.

Australia reaffirms its call on the DPRK to comply with its Security Council resolution obligations, including the requirement to abandon its nuclear, and other weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner.

We also call on the DPRK to take the constructive steps of signing and ratifying the Comprehensive-Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty as a priority. And to return to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and IAEA safeguards.

Strong action from the Security Council is essential to limit further advancement of the DPRK’s illegal weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. As such, Australia supports the draft Chapter 7 resolution aimed at tightening sanctions against the DPRK.

China and Russia’s decisions to veto the draft Security Council resolution are deeply regrettable. These decisions undermine existing Security Council resolutions on the DPRK and go against the will of the international community. The Security Council has the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. Failure to hold the DPRK to account is an abrogation of this responsibility and undermines international disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. Inaction by the Security Council risks normalising the DPRK’s illegal behaviour and emboldening it to continue its flagrant violations of Security Council resolutions.

We urge China and Russia to honour their responsibilities as Security Council members, including their commitments under Security Council resolution 2397 to take further action if the DPRK resumed intercontinental ballistic missile testing.

Australia remains steadfast in our commitment to enforce existing Security Council resolutions against the DPRK. We urge all Member States to do the same. Effective sanctions enforcement requires a global effort.

Finally, Mr President, while I have the floor, I wish to briefly respond to earlier statements regarding the AUKUS partnership. AUKUS is a continuation of its three partners’ long-standing efforts to uphold the international rules-based order and ensure the Indo-Pacific remains stable, secure and free from coercion.

Australia’s decision to acquire conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines is something we are pursuing openly to contribute to the region’s security and stability.

AUKUS is not a new defence alliance.

AUKUS is not a new pact.

AUKUS is not a new treaty.

It complements existing regional partnerships and arrangements.

Let me be clear, Australia is committed to upholding all of its non-proliferation obligations and to strengthening the integrity of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime.

And AUKUS partners are engaging closely and transparently with the IAEA.