United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
August 30, 2023
Joint Statement Delivered by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Russia’s Continued Pursuit of Weapons from the DPRK
(The following is a joint statement delivered by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Representative of the United States to the United Nations, in the United States’ national capacity, on behalf of the United States, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the United Kingdom.)
Good morning everyone, and thank you very much for being here, I would like to make a statement in my national capacity on behalf of Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
At the top, I would like to note that we are tracking reports that the DPRK has conducted another launch this morning. And as we investigate further, we call on the DPRK to refrain from engaging in provocative behavior and instead accept one of our numerous offers for dialogue.
We are here today to share new, deeply troubling information: Arms negotiations between Russia and the DPRK are actively advancing. As was highlighted during Friday’s Council meeting, Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu stood beside Kim Jong Un during the DPRK’s recent military parade – which showcased the DPRK’s Security Council-prohibited ballistic missile advancements. It is shameful that the Russian Federation – a permanent member of the Security Council – participated in a celebration of the DPRK’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons delivery systems.
The United States is now able to share that Shoigu’s visit was more than just a photo op. Russia used this visit to the DPRK to try to convince Pyongyang to sell artillery ammunition to Russia. Since then, Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un have exchanged letters pledging to increase their bilateral cooperation. Our information further indicates that, following Shoigu’s visit, another group of Russian officials traveled to the DPRK for follow-up discussions about potential arms deals between the DPRK and Russia.
Russia is negotiating potential deals for significant quantities and multiple types of munitions from the DPRK to be used against Ukraine. These potential deals could also include the provision of raw materials that would assist Russia’s defense industrial base. In its pursuit of these weapons, Russia will violate Security Council resolutions, including resolutions Russia itself voted for. Any such arms deal would be a serious violation of resolutions the Security Council adopted, unanimously, after the DPRK’s past nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches.
Those resolutions prohibited all Member States, including Russia, from procuring any arms from the DPRK. This sends the wrong message to aspiring proliferators: that if you sell Russia arms, Russia will defend – even enable – your pursuit of nuclear weapons. On numerous occasions, the DPRK has publicly said it will not sell arms to Russia. We urge the DPRK to cease its arms negotiations with Russia and abide by the public commitments Pyongyang has made.
This is not the first time Russia has moved to violate Security Council resolutions to pursue its illegal war against Ukraine. There is now incontrovertible evidence that Russia has procured drones from Iran in violation of another resolution it voted for, Security Council Resolution 2231. Russia has since used those drones in punishing attacks against critical infrastructure in Ukraine. And we are very disappointed the UN has not carried out its mandate to investigate and document Russia’s outrageous violations.
Russia’s pattern of behavior – flouting its responsibilities as a member of the Security Council, propping up proliferating regimes – is unacceptable. The United States is therefore taking direct action – by exposing and sanctioning individuals and entities working to facilitate arms deals between Russia and the DPRK. On August 16th, we designated additional entities tied to an already sanctioned evasion network attempting to support illicit DPRK-Russia arms deals.
We cannot – and we will not – stay silent as we receive more information that Russia continues to turn to rogue regimes to try to obtain weapons and equipment in order to support its brutal war of aggression. We will continue to work with allies and partners to identify, expose, and counter Russian attempts to acquire military equipment from the DPRK or any state that is prepared to support Russia’s war in Ukraine. And we will keep strengthening cooperation to address the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.
This is a pressing matter of international peace and security, and it is one that demands the Council’s attention. Thank you.