The ICAS Lectures


The Korean Peninsula Issues:
A View from the United Nations

Joon Oh

ICAS Fall Symposium

October 20, 2015 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM
The Heritage Foundation Allison Auditorium
214 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington DC 20002

Institute for Corean-American Studies, Inc.

Biographic sketch & Links: Joon Oh

The Korean Peninsula Issues:
A View from the United Nations

Joon Oh
Ambassador & Permanent Representative of Republic of Korea to the United Nations

The Korean Peninsula Issues in the UN During the Cold War period, the "Korean Question" in the UN had been characterized by the diplomatic battle between the two Koreas. After the two Koreas' admission to the UN in 1991, however, three key DPRK issues have dominated UN debate on the Korean Peninsula issues: DPRK's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, human rights violations, and humanitarian issues.

Given that North Korea has never shown a genuine willingness to give up its nuclear weapons through negotiations, the international community should make it more difficult for North Korea to pursue its nuclear program, forcing it to rethink its policy. In this regard, UN Security Council sanctions have an important role to play: while the impact of sanctions may not be obvious at first, their accumulated effect will eventually make a difference over time and put pressure on the DPRK regime.

The UN's debate on the DPRK's human rights situation, which has entered a new phase after the adoption of the COI report and the Security Council's first debate on the issue in December 2014, also adds pressure on the DPRK regime and may eventually lead to a change.

In the long term, reunification will be the fundamental solution to DPRK nuclear and human rights issues. When the right moment arrives, opportunities may open up for the UN to take a more active role in promoting peace and reunification in the Korean Peninsula, including through the Secretary General's role as a mediator.

Full presentation in PDF

This page last updated October 31, 2015 jdb