OSCE Asian Partners for Co-operation Meeting hosted by the Republic of Korea
Statement by Dr Katie Mead, Alternate Permanent Representative
21 November 2022
Thank you Chair
I wish to extend my thanks to Ambassador Vrang and Ambassador Ham for hosting today’s meeting.
Australia is pleased to participate, as an Asian Partner for Cooperation, in this important thematic discussion on the situation on the Korean Peninsula. We thank today’s presenters for their valuable insights, and for bringing perspectives from our shared Indo-Pacific region to this important forum.
At the very outset, let me acknowledge that as we speak today, war continues to rage in Ukraine. Russia’s unilateral, illegal and immoral aggression against the people of Ukraine has caused immense human suffering and serious global economic consequences.
The invasion is a gross violation of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations. We condemn Russia’s repeated waves of deadly missile attacks, in particular the targeting of civilian power infrastructure.
We should also be cognisant that – as with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – Russia’s actions have a nuclear dimension. We are concerned at the irresponsible nuclear threats that have been made by a nuclear weapons state against a non-nuclear weapons state, and at the threats to Ukraine’s sovereign nuclear facilities. These are egregious and unacceptable.
Russia’s invasion shows us that the global peace and security framework can never be taken for granted. Challenges to the international rules-based order know no geographic boundaries - what happens in Europe has real and significant implications for the Indo-Pacific and vice versa. The stability of the Indo-Pacific region has a direct impact on the peace and security of all OSCE participating states.
For these reasons, peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula are essential to us all. Unfortunately, this year the DPRK has continued to recklessly threaten peace and stability in our region and in the world. Its ongoing pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and blatant violations of UN Security Council resolutions threaten our security and the security of our partners.
Australia strongly condemns the DPRK’s unprecedented missile testing throughout 2022. Its launch of a missile on 2 November which landed south of the Northern Limit Line recklessly threatened the security of the Republic of Korea, and its ballistic missile test which overflew Japan on 4 October posed an unacceptable threat to the safety of Japanese citizens. We call on the UN Security Council to respond to the DPRK’s unprecedented missile launches.
We are also gravely concerned by the DPRK’s apparent readiness to conduct a seventh nuclear explosive test. Such an egregious provocation by the DPRK would violate multiple UN Security Council Resolutions and be out of step with the strong global norm against nuclear testing.
We welcome the discussion today on confidence and security building measures. Like others, we hope that dialogue can lead to the DPRK retreating from the posture it has taken, and taking concrete steps towards denuclearisation. Pending that, diplomatic and economic pressure must be maintained on the DPRK.
Australia remains committed to strictly enforcing UN Security Council sanctions against the DPRK and we call on all countries to do likewise. We support the Republic of Korea’s efforts, and those of other partners, to achieve a denuclearised, peaceful and prosperous Korean Peninsula.
We call on the DPRK to cease all provocations and make a sustained commitment to meaningful talks with the Republic of Korea and the United States.
Australia will continue to work with our allies and partners, including the United States, Japan and the Republic of Korea, to address the threats posed by the DPRK to our shared security and prosperity. We welcome the perspectives of OSCE Participating States and once again express our thanks to the Republic of Korea for bringing this important issue to this forum.