Fabian Hamilton - Member of Parliament for Leeds North East
Fighting for fairness justice and equality

Statesmanship, not Brinkmanship - Statement on North Korea

The world needs Statesmanship over North Korea, not Brinkmanship

Back in March, Fabian Hamilton was the only British MP present in New York for the initial negotiations of the UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, paving the way for mainstream thought at the UN, in line with over 120 countries who voted in favour of the Treaty last week.

Make no mistake, North Korea’s reckless and needless latest provocations are extremely worrying and dangerous, given the amount of potential civilian casualties from the launch of a nuclear weapon. This threat should be dealt with through diplomacy, as negotiations should take precedent over tensions, in the interests of innocent people, not just in North Korea, but across the world.

In the face of the threat from North Korea, the world needs firm statesmanship, not provocative brinksmanship. This is why the British government should make every effort to embrace the UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty that it has so far ignored. It should be impossible to disregard the fact that over 120 countries supported the Ban Treaty last week at the UN, but the Prime Minister has managed to not engage with it at all.

Labour takes this diplomatic effort to work towards a nuclear weapon free world seriously, as it is in the interests of innocent people globally. Multilateral disarmament should be understood as the only way to achieving a world free from the most destructive weapons ever created.

Unilateral disarmament is both ineffective and unrealistic. While an authoritarian regime in North Korea has the capability to attack its neighbours, it would be unreasonable to demand nuclear disarmament from the United States.

But, North Korea’s anti-American philosophy is being fuelled by President Trump’s dangerous rhetoric. Referring to an already deluded dictator as ‘suicidal’ and threatening to ‘totally destroy’ his country is not diplomatically constructive in the slightest.

Last week, May categorically failed to inform the UN General Assembly that the UK would be honouring our international obligations to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Labour will continue to support the resumption of long-stalled six party talks as part of a genuine effort for multilateral disarmament and to halt North Korean nuclear progression.

Further, Labour has the deepest concern for the Human Rights situation in North Korea and urges the regime to avoid directing funds meant for people to military and nuclear projects. Therefore, the Labour Party supports South Korea’s aid package of £5.9 million for infants and pregnant women, but the UN must work with South Korea to ensure aid gets to where it is intended to go.

The government must use their influence on the Security Council to both hold North Korea to account and embrace the nuclear ban treaty that Theresa May has, so far, disregarded.

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