Comment by the Information and Press Department on the Vancouver meeting on North Korea

Wednesday, 24 January 2018 11:08

The results of the Vancouver meeting on the DPRK held on January 16, which are included in the statement of its co-chairs - the United States and Canada - reinforced our doubts about the usefulness of this event.

We were perplexed to see Russia and China mentioned in the document, especially given the fact that the foreign ministers of the two countries were not invited to the meeting that was supposed to focus on the Korean issue. We were particularly impressed by a passage on the importance and special responsibility of Russia and China in finding long-term solutions to Korean Peninsula issues. I would like to note that our countries have been offering such a solution and urging others to join it for a year now.

The Russian-Chinese road map for a Korean settlement outlined in the Joint Statement of the Russian and Chinese Foreign Ministries of July 4, 2017 is designed to identify a mutually acceptable solution to the entire set of issues exclusively by peaceful political and diplomatic means through the mutual reduction of military activities in the sub-region, direct US-North Korea and intra-Korean talks, and a discussion of security issues in Northeast Asia in a broad format. No one has come up with an alternative to this document, and nothing constructive has been proposed by the participants in the Vancouver meetings.

The “decision” of the meeting participants “to reflect on imposing unilateral sanctions and other diplomatic measures that go beyond the requirements set forth in UN Security Council resolutions” is absolutely unacceptable and counterproductive. Such a crude attempt by a group of states whose meeting was not based on the UN mandate to undermine the importance of Security Council resolutions demonstrates their total disrespect for this essential international institution the resolutions of which are binding on all states in their entirety. We consider it absolutely unacceptable when 17 countries arbitrarily assume the role of an “assistant” to the UN Security Council and interpret its resolutions, thereby effectively challenging the authority of the UN Security Council as the main body responsible for ensuring international peace and security.

Moreover, we noted that the conference participants didn’t think twice before breaking established rules of multilateral work in order to carry out their own propaganda agenda. These 17 states, which, on January 12, approved the joint statement of the “partners” of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) to support the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 2375 and 2397 understand perfectly well that they are not entitled to speak on behalf of or under the umbrella of the PSI or the Operational Experts Group which is its main body. However, this failed to stop them. It appears that what matters more to them is not actual equitable cooperation within the PSI, but the creation of a particular information environment around the controversial Vancouver conference.

We regret to say that such meetings, which are conducted in a hurry and which negatively affect the function of proven multilateral formats, do little to normalise the situation on the Korean Peninsula, but rather aggravate it.

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