UN calls on North Korea to refrain from pursuing nuclear weapons

The UN has called on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to refrain from pursuing its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, a senior UN official said on Monday.

"On 27 September, the DPRK adopted a constitutional amendment further enshrining its policy on nuclear forces in the Constitution. As such, the DPRK has consistently demonstrated its strong intention to continue pursuing its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, in violation of relevant Security Council resolutions.

"We emphasize once again our call on the DPRK to refrain from such actions," Khaled Khiari, Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East and Asia and the Pacific, told the UN Security Council meeting on non-proliferation/DPRK.

On Nov. 21, North Korea announced that it placed its first spy satellite in orbit and vowed to launch more in the near future, despite growing international condemnation.

While sovereign states have the right to benefit from peaceful space activities, Khiari said, the Security Council resolutions expressly prohibit North Korea from conducting any launches using ballistic missile technology. The launches represent a "serious risk" to international civil aviation and maritime traffic, Khiari said.

"While the DPRK issued a pre-launch notification to the Japanese Coast Guard, it did not issue airspace or maritime safety notifications to the International Maritime Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization, or the International Telecommunications Union," he added.

The increase in nuclear rhetoric on the Korean Peninsula is "deeply concerning," Khiari said and added it is important to re-establish communication channels to avoid "unintended" accidents or miscalculations.

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