S. Korea to request UNSC meeting in case of N.K. provocations if need be: Seoul envoy

January 2, 2024

South Korea will directly request a U.N. Security Council (UNSC) meeting in the event of a North Korean provocation if needed, its top envoy to the United Nations said Tuesday, as Seoul has begun its two-year term as a non-permanent UNSC member.

Ambassador Hwang Joon-kook made the remarks in a meeting with reporters following a flag installation ceremony for the newly elected UNSC members for the 2024-2025 period at U.N. headquarters in New York.

“Although there are no North Korea-related issues on the UNSC agenda in January, the Republic of Korea has the right to request the convening of a U.N. Security Council meeting if need be,” Hwang told reporters.

“During today’s breakfast meeting, I asked other member countries, including the chair country, to cooperate,” he added.

Hwang also touched on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s recent characterization of inter-Korean relations as “two hostile countries in a state of war.” Kim’s such description came during a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party last week.

“This is a development that should not be just shrugged off,” he said.

South Korean Ambassador Hwang Joon-kook speaks to the press at the U.N. headquarters in New York on Jan. 2, 2024. (Yonhap)
South Korean Ambassador Hwang Joon-kook speaks to the press at the U.N. headquarters in New York on Jan. 2, 2024. (Yonhap)

This month, South Korea began its UNSC member term along with Algeria, Guyana, Sierra Leone and Slovenia.

At the flag installation event, Hwang called for a “collective and resolute” response to current global challenges.

“In recognizing the serious challenges that confront our world today, we acknowledge that expectations for the role of the Security Council have never been greater,” he said. “Indeed, the complexity of today’s interconnected global issues necessitates a collective and resolute response of the Security Council.”

Pointing to escalating security threats on the Korean Peninsula, Hwang said that South Korea approaches UNSC peace efforts with “heightened seriousness.”

“In solidarity with those facing similar challenges across the world, we aspire to create more success stories that resonate globally,” he said.

“And we are confident that it is possible to do so, by working together genuinely, for our shared objectives of promoting international peace and prosperity, as well as upholding human rights and the rule of law,” he added.