76th session of GA, General Debate – Speech by North Korea (DPRK)

North Korea

Statement by Head of the DPRK Delegation


Permanent Representative of the

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the United Nations

At the General Debate of the 76th session of the

United Nations General Assembly

(New York, 27 September 2021)

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, Distinguished delegates,

First of all, I would like to congratulate you, Mr. Abdulla Shahid, on your election as the President of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). I expect that your able stewardship will lead this session to a good success.

I hope this session will serve as an important occasion for all UN member states in the face of unprecedented challenges and crisis to share useful experiences with each other in overcoming difficulties, promoting socio-economic recovery, and opening up a new future through hope.

Mr. President,

COVID-19, which took the precious lives of about 4.7 million people, is still raging, worsening the socio-economic situations around the globe, such as economic stagnation, racial discrimination and widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

Global warming is giving rise to destructive abnormal weather affecting simultaneously every part of the world. It teaches us a serious lesson that no one should turn a blind eye to the climate change.

To make matters worse, due to the selfish and unjust behaviors of some UN member states and specific forces, conflicts and ethnic disputes amon g countries and nations never cease with innocent people suffering in many regions of the world including the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia.

It is no exaggeration to say that the international community is faced with the most serious crisis since the founding of the UN.

This reality urgently requires all the UN member states to find a proper solution to the problems, while remaining more faithful than ever before to the UN Charter, international law and fundamental principles of international relations, pooling their political will and efforts and strengthening mutual cooperation.

Mr. President,

I would like first of all to inform you about the efforts of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for anti-epidemic work and socio-economic development, with a view to making active contribution to the discussion of the theme of this session on recovering from global health crisis and building socio-economic resilience.

The circumstances of the DPRK is extremely unfavorable due to the external factors, compared with other countries.

However, the DPRK is never daunted or captivated by the surrounding circumstances. It is vigorously advancing along the track of development that it has aimed for, based on the most stable and solid political environment in the world, overcoming by its own efforts all kinds of disturbing factors and challenges standing ahead.

Proud and precious successes have been achieved thanks to the steady efforts made by the DPRK government for socio-economic development and improvement of the people’s living standard.

At the present time, it is the core policy of the DPRK government to cope with the global health crisis and climate change with a foresighted plan and to provide people with a more stable and improved living conditions while sustainably increasing the agricultural production.

Regarding it as a vital issue to tightly quarantine the inroads of COVID-19, the DPRK government takes comprehensive anti-epidemic measures, evoking an all-people empathy and ensuring unity of action.

The DPRK delegation believes that in recovering from COVID-19, it is important for each country to take anti-epidemic measures suitable to its specific conditions, with a high sense of responsibility for the life and safety of its own people.

In the face of the global pandemic still spreading with a protracted nature, we will reliably safeguard the life and safety of the people and the well -being of the country by reinforcing the existing anti-epidemic measures with more improved and safer ones.

Mr. President,

Despite the continued global health crisis and abnormal weather conditions, we have made not a few achievements in social and economic development and improvement of the people’s living standard.

Industrial sector has been placed on the upward track as we have concentrated a lot of efforts on strengthening the country’s capabilities for self-supporting development. And a good prospect is opened also in agricultural sector for ensuring the fulfilment of the grain production plan this year on sound footing by minimizing the effects of disastrous climate.

The Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) invariably maintains it as the supreme principle of its activities to provide the Korean people with stable life and to steadily improve it.

In accordance with a decision made at an important meeting held some time ago, our country has taken measures to regularly provide the children throughout the country with nutritious food such as dairy products free of charge at state’s expense, even at this hard time.

Tens of thousands of advanced houses are built annually at state’s expense and allocated to people, thanks to the people-oriented policy of the DPRK government.

In regard to the issue of climate change, too, the DPRK government has formulated a plan to mainly complete river improvement, afforestation for erosion control, dyke maintenance and tide embankment projects across the country, and to enter into their regular management during the five-year plan period, and it is taking strict measures for crisis management in order to minimize natural disasters including from flood and typhoon.

I want to believe that the achievements made by the DPRK in dealing with global health crisis and disastrous climate change will make a positive contribution to the efforts of the international community to recover from COVID-19 and build sustainable socio-economic resilience.

Difficulties are much bigger than at any time, and big and small challenges and threats exist in the surrounding environments. Even under these circumstances, we have created successes which are fully welcomed and supported by our people, and we are steadily effecting development changes by our own efforts. This is the result of the correct political guidance of our Party and the state leadership.

All people trust in the Party and the government, united in one mind and destiny. Herein lies the invincible power of our state and the source of its inexhaustible strength.

Mr. President,

The DPRK became the 160th member state of the United Nations when the first plenary meeting of the UNGA at its 46th session adopted a resolution with unanimity to admit the Republic to its membership on September 17, 1991, 30 years ago.

As the country and nation remained divided, the Republic originally could not but consider joining the UN from the perspective of achieving reunification. Therefore, we consistently maintained the position that the north and the south of Korea join the UN with the single name of the country after achieving reunification based on confederacy or take one common seat if they would join the UN prior to reunification.

But the anti-reunification and- anti-national attempts got ever more undisguised to make the national division permanent and legitimate, and to isolate the Republic internationally by using the UN membership issue. Against this backdrop, we took a decisive measure to join the UN on our own initiative.

The Korean nation, which lived on the same territory for thousands of years with the same bloodline through generations, was artificially divided by the outside forces in the middle of the 20th century and in the end, joined the UN with two seats. This is a tragedy indeed.

As a result of the World War II, the United Nations was established with the primary responsibility to maintain international peace and security. But contrary to this, the Korean peninsula was divided into two against the will and aspiration of the Korean nation, thus undergoing constant tension and instability.

Consequently, this became the root cause of pains and misfortunes inflicting upon the Korean nation, which can never be forgotten from generation to generation. Nobody will deny this fact.

It is also the desire of the international community to see peaceful resolution of the issue of the Korean peninsula in the interests of the Korean nation.

It is from this viewpoint that I take this opportunity to clarify the position of the DPRK on the root cause of the still unresolved issue of the Korean peninsula and on the fundamental ways to ensure lasting peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.

Mr. President,

The principle of solution to a problem is to find out its root cause before coming up with a prescription for it.

Three decades have passed since the end of the Cold War. But the Korean peninsula is still in a vicious cycle of ever-looming aggravation of tension and confrontation. Its main root cause lies in the hostile policy towards the DPRK.

Until now, no less number of UN member states are not well aware of the fact that the issue of the Korean peninsula has its origin in the U.S. hosti le policy on the DPRK. Worse still, they have a misconception that the U.S. has become hostile towards the DPRK due to the nuclear issue.

When it comes to the nuclear issue, it is not the DPRK’s possession of nukes that the U.S. became hostile towards us. On the contrary, we have traversed an inevitable course of history as the U.S., the biggest nuclear power in the world, has been posing nuclear threats, antagonizing the DPRK for more than 70 years.

The U.S. hostile policy towards the DPRK is not at all abstract. It is in itself military threats and hostile acts we are facing from the U.S. every day.

From the first day of the foundation of the DPRK, the U.S. has not recognized our sovereignty treating us as an enemy state, and openly showed its hostility towards the socialist system chosen by our people.

The U.S. designated the DPRK as a “communist state” and a “state of non-market economy”, and it completely blocked, both institutionally and legislatively, the establishment of relations between the DPRK and the U.S. in the fields of politics, economy and trade, under the unreasonable pretexts of “human rights issue”, “proliferation of the WMD”, “sponsoring of terrorism”, “oppression of religion”, “money laundering” and etc.

If it is not a hostile policy, should it be called a “friendly policy”?

The U.S. hostile policy against the DPRK finds its clearest expression in its military threats against us.

Not a single foreign troop, not a single foreign military base exists in the territory of the DPRK. But in south Korea, almost 30,000 U.S. troops are stationing at numerous military bases, maintaining a war posture to take military action against the DPRK at any moment.

The DPRK has no record of having conducted a military exercise even a single time around the U.S., but the U.S. has annually staged all sorts of war drills on and around the Korean peninsula and in the Korean waters for the last several decades, by mobilizing army, naval and air forces across the world including the U.S. troops in south Korea, and it has threatened us through military demonstrations of intimidating nature while deploying numerous armaments to south Korea from time to time.

In August 2021, the U.S. and south Korea defiantly conducted the ”combined command exercise” despite our repeated warnings. This exercise is an outright war drill of offensive nature that simply changed its name of the joint military exercises staged by the U.S. for the last several decades.

Inter-Korean relations have never come out of the shadow of the U .S. interference and obstruction as the U.S. has stationed its troops in south Korea and bound it with the chains of military alliance, and the inter-Korean agreements have never been implemented faithfully owing to the wrong behavior of the south Korean authorities prioritizing cooperation with an “alliance” over the harmony of the nation.

The international community should not overlook one fact.

The DPRK-U.S. relations are not merely the relations between unfriendly countries without diplomatic relations but between the belligerent countries which are legally in a state of war.

The possible outbreak of a new war on the Korean peninsula is contained not because of the U.S.’s mercy on the DPRK.

It is because our state is growing reliable deterrent that can control the hostile forces in their attempts for military invasion.

We have stored reliable power to defend ourselves by exerting continuous efforts, with a clear insight into the demand of the times which necessitates us to possess sufficient might for national defense in the face of the geopolitical environment and the balance of power on the Korean peninsula as well as ever-straining international relations.

On the earth, there is no country which is under constant threat of war like the DPRK, and so much strong is its people’s desire for peace.

What we mean by the war deterrent is literally the righteous right to self-defense that can deter aggressive war and defend ourselves.

As the whole world knows and as the U.S. is so much concerned, powerful offensive means are, of course, included in our war deterrent.

However, we do not want to use those means aiming at somebody. In other words, we would never violate nor endanger the security of the U.S., south Korea and our neighboring countries.

We are just building up our national defense in order to defend ourselves and reliably safeguard the security and peace of the country.

For this reason, we do not imprudently use such expression that we are building up military power which is good enough to “deter” somebody’s “provocation”.

However, the military threats against the DPRK by the U.S. and its servile forces are evolving constantly with the passage of time.

Annually, the U.S. spends astronomical amount of money amounting to more than US$ 700 billion on the development of ultra-supersonic weapons, long-range precision guided armaments, ICBM of a new generation, nuclear strategic bombers, all of which are bound to be used first against the DPRK in the future Korean war.

Recently, the south Korean authorities is hell-bent on developing ultra-modern weapons under the tacit approval and patronage of the U.S., and numerous war equipment have been shipped into south Korea. These are all too dangerous moves that break the balance of military power on the Korean peninsula.

Given that the U.S. and the U.S.-south Korea military alliance increase military threats against the DPRK, nobody can deny the righteous right to self-defense for the DPRK to develop, test, manufacture and possess the weapon systems equivalent to the ones which are possessed or being developed by them.

Mr. President,

Kim Jong Un, President of the State Affairs, in his report at the 8th Congress of WPK, stated that the key to establishing new DPRK-U.S. relationship lies in the U.S. withdrawal of its hostile policy toward the DPRK and expressed the principled stand that we would approach the U.S. on the principle of power for power and goodwill for goodwill in the future, too.

The U.S. has now two options.

One is to contribute to the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and the world by withdrawing the anachronistic hostile policy towards the DPRK in a bold and complete manner.

The successive U.S. administrations have repeatedly expressed their intentions, both in verbal and written forms, that they had no hostile intent towards the DPRK, advocating dialogue with us. But as can be seen in reality, all of those were nothing more than flowery words to cover up their hostile policy.

The current U.S. administration should prove its policy stand that “they have no hostile intent towards the DPRK” by practical actions instead of words.

It should also remove the double standards towards the DPRK.

If the U.S. shows its bold decision to give up its hostile policy, we are also prepared to respond willingly at any time.

But it is our judgment that there is no prospect, at the present stage, for the U.S. to really withdraw its hostile policy towards the DPRK.

Nevertheless, we would not implore the U.S. to abandon its hostility towards us.

In the course of the DPRK-U.S. showdown spanning over half a century, we have been very much accustomed to the U.S. military threats, and we know well how to deal with the U.S., the most hostile country.

We have learned the mode of existence to cope with the U.S. hostile policy and accumulated rich experience.

We will continue to keep eyes on the move of the U.S. policy towards the DPRK.

If the current U.S. administration tries to solve the issue of the Korean peninsula, which had not been solved by the preceding administrations, by relying on the anachronistic method of calculation like the present one, the result would not be different from the past.

If the U.S. continues to commit such acts to threaten us as to provoking us to a quarrel more often than not and depending on the legacy of the cold war like the military alliance, it would really turn out to be unfavorable for them.

Some time ago, the U.S. administration announced that it had terminated the longest war which lasted for 20 years, while withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan.

But the U.S. is still ignoring the reality that the Korean war has not ended for over 70 years.

If the U.S. wants to see the Korean war, the most prolonged and long-lasting war in the world, come to an end, and if it is really desirous of peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula, it should take the first step towards giving up its hostile policy against the DPRK by stopping permanently the joint military exercises and the deployment of all kinds of strategic weapons which are levelled at the DPRK in and around the Korean peninsula.

I am convinced that a good prospect will be opened for the DPRK-U.S. relations and the inter-Korean relations if the U.S. refrains from threatening the DPRK and gives up its hostility towards it.

Mr. President,

Pandemic crisis, climate change, refugee problem and endless disputes among countries are arising as burning issues in the world. Backdrop to this lies the self-serving policies of interference of the U.S. and the West.

The Afghan crisis has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of innocent people and triggered the flow of millions of refugees as well as the collapse of the state and social system. This is a clear testimony to the tragic consequences caused by the open use of armed forces against a sovereign state, interference in their internal affairs and occupation of foreign troops.

The reality urgently demands that the United Nations turn into a fair international organization with strong executive power discharging its inherent mission in conformity with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

What comes as an urgent task here is to make the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) an impartial and responsible body which substantially contributes to maintaining the international peace and security, as explicitly stipulated in the UN Charter.

The UNSC is not a political instrument with which some big powers decide at their own wills the international relations and the destiny of sovereign states with the yardstick of double standards on the basis of their interests and priorities.

The UNSC does not say a single word about the reckless arms buildup and war criminal acts by specific countries such as the U.S. and its following forces. It instead finds faults with the just self-defensive measures of the DPRK at every chance.

This is a telltale evidence that the UN does not represent the interests of broad spectrum of the international community but, rather degenerates into an “inner room” for a few privileged group.

In order to prevent the high-handedness and arbitrariness of the UNSC, representation of developing countries, which take up majority in the UN, should be increased.

It is also imperative that the rules and procedures of the UN should be revised so that the resolutions adopted at the UNSC could be rejected by the UNGA resolution containing the will of the overwhelming majority of member states, when necessary.

Next, for the UN to be a fair organization with practical ability, we should revitalize the work of the UN based on the principles of sovereign equality and respect for equal rights and self-determination of the people.

Ensuring sovereign equality and respect for equal rights and self-determination of the people constitutes the hard core of the UN Charter, and it is the cornerstone of very existence of the UN.

Some UN member states try to unilaterally impose the western values and “rules based international order” upon sovereign states behind the signboard of “defending democracy” and “protecting human rights”. Such an attempt to interfere in the internal affairs is a gross violation of the principle of sovereign equality.

Chaos, disorder, bloodshed and violence continue unabated in some countries owing to foreign intervention. These unhappy events prove that the human rights are immediately sovereign rights and that, if it is lost, people cannot avoid the fate of stateless nation fraught with disgrace and humiliation.

The UN should get away with double standards as well as unjust behavior of leaning towards positions of some countries and specific force. It should ensure full impartiality and fairness as required by the UN Charter, the backbone of which is the principle of sovereign equality and respect for equal rights and self-determination of the people.

The DPRK delegation avails itself of this opportunity to extend its full support and encouragement to the Cuban government and people who continue to move forward holding aloft the banner of socialism in the face of the U.S. moves to impose illegal sanctions and blockade and to undermine Cuba from within.

I also express our constant support to and solidarity with the independent countries including Syria and Palestine and their peoples in their unyielding struggle to defend the national dignity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Mr. President,

The DPRK remains unchanged in its underlying foreign policy ideas of independence, peace and friendship.

In the future, too, the DPRK will discharge its responsibilities and duties to strengthen friendship and unity with all countries of the world which respect our sovereignty, achieve genuine international justice and equality, and to ensure peace and security on the Korean peninsula and in the rest of the world.

Thank you.

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