Ambassador urges robust, comprehensive resolution; but no precedent of expulsion from UN
South Korea’s delegation at the United Nations has questioned North Korea’s qualifications to be a member state, citing its continuous violations of UN Security Council resolutions at an open meeting this week.
Oh Joon, ambassador and permanent representative of the Republic of Korea (ROK) to the UN argued the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has violated its declaration that it will accept its duty as a UN member country.
“Twenty-five years ago, the DPRK solemnly pledged to comply with the obligations of the UN Charter as a new member, but during the past decade the DPRK has persistently violated all Security Council resolutions regarding the DPRK,” Oh said in remarks quoted by the Korea Times.
“This is not only a direct challenge to the authority of the Security Council, but also a contradiction of both the letter and spirit of the pledge it made. This breach of obligations by the DPRK calls into question its qualifications as a member of the United Nations.”
Oh implied that the intent is to urge international society toward a firm reaction against Pyongyang’s provocations by calling for a “robust and comprehensive resolution not to let the DPRK’s leadership make a mockery of it by continuing to develop nuclear weapons.”
Deputy permanent representative Hahn Choong-hee raised this question again the next day at the meeting of the Special Committee on the Charter of the UN, saying the North Korea’s repeated violations of the resolutions have disgraced the UN Charter.
North Korea has responded that its nuclear tests and satellite test-launches are for the purpose of self-defense and peaceful space development.
The two Koreas joined the UN together in 1991, during former South Korean President Roh Tae-woo’s term. The General Assembly admitted both countries under UN Security Council resolution 702, identifying the two Koreas as individual countries.
This updated UN General Assembly Resolution 293, adopted in 1949 following the independent election in the South and the declaration of the founding of the DPRK in the North. According to that resolution, the ROK was recognized as the sole “lawful” government with “effective control and jurisdiction” over the peninsula.
Article 4 of the UN Charter regulated qualifications which read, “membership in the United Nation is open to all other peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations.”
The cancellation of membership is possible through the “recommendation of the Security Council” for countries which have “persistently violated the principles.”
“It is unlikely that South Korea considers itself the sole lawful administration on the peninsula. This seems like a demand for stronger sanctions,” Cho Han-bum, senior researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification, told NK News.
The UN has never decided to expel membership countries, though the People’s Republic of China did replace the Republic of China, or Taiwan, as “the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations” in 1971. Indonesia once withdrew the UN in 1965, protesting Malaysia’s election as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. But Indonesia resumed its participation a year and a half later.
(Ha-young Choi is an NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She studied Korean history, mainly focusing on modern Korean history at Korea University. Follow her on twitter @Hy_Choi0826)