H.E. Ambassador Choi Young-jin, Permanent Representative, at Plenary of the General Assembly
1. At the outset, I would like to thank the President of the Security Council for this month, Ambassador Nassir Al-Nasser of Qatar, for introducing the annual report of the Security Council. I would also like to commend the efforts of the Secretariat in producing the report.
2. According to the report, the volume and scope of the Security Council뭩 activities continued to increase over the last year. We note with concern that Africa is still the scene of the majority of issues before the Security Council.
3. There have been some positive developments in Africa. Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo seem to be on track from conflict to stability, with the process of nation-building underway and bolstered by recent successful elections. In many other parts of the continent, however, instability continues. In particular, the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of the Sudan is still going on, and fresh reports of increasing violence indicate that the situation is not improving. Another area of serious concern is C?e D묲voire, where elections once again could not take place as scheduled, and anxieties are increasing. We hope to see improvements in these countries over the upcoming year.
4. During the last year, the Security Council has continued to devote considerable attention to the situation in Iraq. Unfortunately, the security situation in Iraq is still deeply troubling. We appreciate the continuing efforts of President Jalai Talabani, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and the Iraqi Government as a whole to overcome the security and other challenges and work toward national reconciliation. We welcome the progress on the International Compact with Iraq (ICI). The Republic of Korea remains committed to helping Iraq implement the ICI and achieve its National Vision, which seeks to build a secure, unified, federal and democratic nation founded on the principles of freedom and equality.
5. With regard to Lebanon, we support the continuing efforts of the Security Council to establish peace and stability in the country. We support Security Council resolution 1701, on the strengthening of UNIFIL, and we are committed to playing a substantive role in that endeavour.
6. Elsewhere in Asia, Afghanistan has made some encouraging progress on the political, security and reconstruction fronts. Despite these positive signs, the deteriorating security situation in the Southern and Eastern parts of the country is distressing, as is the increased activity by the Taliban and other armed groups. It is clear that the international community must continue to assist Afghanistan in its transition to peace and stability. For our part, the Republic of Korea will maintain the ongoing troop presence that we have provided since 2002.
7. We note with appreciation that the Security Council responded firmly and swiftly to the actions taken by the Democratic People뭩 Republic of Korea (DPRK), adopting the resolutions 1695 on the missile launch and 1718 on the nuclear test. We hope that the DPRK will heed the united voice of the international community and take concrete steps for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and beyond. In this regard, we welcome the scheduled resumption of the Six-Party Talks in Beijing on 18 December and hope that the Talks will make substantial progress toward our common goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
8. Let me now turn to the issue of Security Council Reform.
9. The Republic of Korea fully recognizes the importance of Security Council reform in the context of the overall reform of the United Nations. We support a reformed Security Council that is more effective, representative, transparent, democratic and accountable. We believe that these principles are widely shared among UN Member States, and that they should be applied not only to the reform of the Security Council, but to overall reform efforts throughout the Organization. If any one of these principles is abandoned in the pursuit of hasty results, the long-term effects will be to weaken the authority of the Security Council and undermine the UN reform process as a whole.
10. We welcome the initiatives that have so far been put forward to enhance the transparency, accountability and inclusiveness of the Council뭩 work. We are pleased to see that, within the Security Council, ways to improve transparency and working methods are under consideration. We welcome these developments and support the steps taken so far by the Council to improve its working methods. Building on this progress, we believe that further reform is needed to make the Council more transparent, democratic and efficient.
11. The reform of the Security Council뭩 working method goes hand-in-hand with the reform of its membership. On this issue, we share the position of the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group that the best way to reform the membership of the Security Council is through an increase in non-permanent, elected seats on the Council, not through the addition of permanent members. The proposal of the UfC group would make it possible for each region to devise its own arrangements to ensure that large, medium and small States are all represented in an enlarged Security Council.
12. The Republic of Korea remains ready for such dialogue with any other Member States, in the hopes of achieving our common goal of reforming the Security Council. We look forward to an open and transparent process of consultation and negotiation, with a view to reaching the broadest possible agreement on this critical issue. We hope that in our collective wisdom, we can reform the Security Council so that it can better fulfil its mandate.