Media Statement

5 September 2017

South African government’s position on the reported sixth nuclear weapons test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)

The South African Government unequivocally condemns the sixth nuclear weapons test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on 3 September 2017. The test was also strongly deplored by the BRICS Leaders on 4 September 2017 in the Xiamen Declaration. South Africa believes that the test constitutes a clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions calling on the DPRK not to conduct any further tests.  Nuclear weapons tests constitute a grave threat to international peace and security and undermine the global norm established by the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty against such tests.

Recent developments in North-East Asia once again illustrate that nuclear weapons and the pursuance of such capabilities do not enhance security, but rather constitute a source of international and regional insecurity.  South Africa once again calls upon the DPRK to verifiably dismantle its nuclear weapons, to return to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) without delay, and to place all its facilities under comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verification. We remain resolute in our view that for as long as some States, no matter the justification nor the historical reasons, continue to possess these Weapons of Mass Destruction, other States may always aspire to acquire similar capabilities. The recently adopted Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons provides a significant legal framework for the total elimination of these weapons.

We urge the DPRK and all parties involved to refrain from any actions that would further escalate tensions and exacerbate the volatile situation in the region.  There are no military solutions to the conflict.  Only through diplomacy and negotiations can lasting solutions be found to the challenges affecting the Korean Peninsula.

South Africa believes that the continued emphasis by some States possessing nuclear weapons on the alleged security benefits of nuclear weapons, together with the continued modernization of nuclear arsenals, weaken the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).   We call on all States possessing nuclear weapons to fulfil their obligations and commitments towards the achievement of a world free from the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons.

Enquiries: Clayson Monyela, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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