Sanctions resolution on North Korea should be top priority, Yoshikawa tells UNSC


Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations Motohide Yoshikawa on Friday urged the U.N. Security Council to speed up efforts to adopt a new resolution to sanction North Korea for advancing its nuclear development program and said it should be the body’s top priority.

“Japan believes that adopting a new resolution with further significant measures needs to be the top and urgent priority of this council,” Yoshikawa said at a session wrapping up the month under Uruguay’s rotating presidency.

While Yoshikawa pointed out that the 15-member council was “united” in releasing a news statement hours after Pyongyang’s Jan. 6 nuclear test, negotiations on the contents of the new resolution are still being worked out mainly between China and the United States.

A meeting between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Wednesday did not yield the results many hoped for, and wide gaps remain in crafting the text.

China, North Korea’s principal ally, is reluctant to carry out harsh measures, fearing they would provoke new tensions.

Yoshikawa stressed that sanctions are “one of the important tools . . . to bring a comprehensive solution” to the issue and are effective.

He cited the example of Iran coming to an agreement with world powers on its nuclear program last year after being subjected to years of sanctions.

“This is clear proof that sanctions do work,” he said.

Yoshikawa expressed frustration that a solution to North Korea’s nuclear development program has been elusive despite agreements generated by more than 20 years of dialogue that bilaterally and multilaterally engaged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“None of these attempts worked since the promises by the DPRK were not kept,” he said, using the official name of North Korea. South Korea’s official name is the Republic of Korea.

While other council members, such as the United States, France and Malaysia highlighted concerns about the test, Russia and China did not address the issue.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre called the test a “gross violation” that threatened international and regional peace and security. He also expressed concerns about reports that North Korea is preparing to launch a long-range ballistic missile soon.

“With a threat of a ballistic test it is now time for us to take action,” he said.