Seven States Join UN; Membership Now 166

UN Chronicle, December 1991 | Go to article overview

Seven States Join UN; Membership Now 166


All seven members--the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania--were admitted by acclamation by the General Assembly. On the same day, their national flags were raised at a special ceremony in front of UN Headquarters.

"Today is a big day for the United Nations", said Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar at the ceremony. "With this event, the United Nations takes a further important step towards the goal of universality of membership--a goal that it has embraced since its inception, over four and a half decades ago.

"As it moves towards a more universal basis, the world Organization reflects increasingly the great diversity of mankind and brings together, within its councils, all quarters of the modern international community. Today's occasion demonstrates, moreover, the important changes that have taken place in international relations over recent years and the enhanced cooperation that has been developing among the Organization's Member States."

On 8 August, the Council unanimously recommended that the two Koreas be granted UN membership. The following day, it acted on the two South Pacific States--Micronesia and the Marshall Islands--formerly parts of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. The three Baltic States--Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania--which had recently become independent from the USSR, were recommended on 12 September.

These decisions were of "great symbolic and historic importance", said Council President Jean-Bernard Merimee of France. "The wheels of history have been turning. The winds of freedom have been blowing down old structures. We are entering a world where perhaps there is less order, but where ther is ever more hope."

First actions

In their first official actions as UN Members, representatives addressed the Assembly.

Yon Hyong Muk, Premier of the Administrative Council of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, said his people would strive for a reunified Korea which would take one seat at the Organization.

First Deputy Foreign Minister Kang Sok Ju said North Korea would join actively in UN activities "for the sake of world peace". Reunification was "a question of relinking the artificially severed arteries of our nation".

Rao Tae Woo, President of the Republic of Korea, called for national reunification to be achieved "peacefully, without the use of military force, independently, on the basis of self-determination, and democratically, in accordance with the free will of the Korean people".

Foreign Minister Lee Sang Ock of South Korea said the parallel membership of the two Koreas gave them the "opportunity to make constructive contributions to UN efforts to promote peace and common prosperity".

Bailey Olter, President of the Federated States of Micronesia, believed that "simultaneously attainment of membership by such a large group will encourage yet more nations ... to become Members and bring the goal of universality closer to ultimate attainment".

Jack Fritz, Speaker of the Congress, said Micronesia had seen membership in the UN as a goal because of its desire for peace. His country had been "impatient to have our own voice in the advancement of the principles of the UN Charter".

Amata Kabua, President of the Marshall Islands, said that the UN had helped to "usher in an unprecedented degree of international cooperation, mutual respect and understanding among the peoples and nations of the world". Still, international machinery should be strengthened to address newly emerging global issues.

Arnold Ruutel, Chairman of the Supreme Council of Estonia, noted that the "time of blocs" was past. Having restored its ties to the world and its "rightful place as a full-fledged member of the international community of nation-States", his country would "once again help to build collective security in the world". …

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