ICAO threatens Rocket Happy North Korea—with what?

ICAO Council votes on DPRK condemnation
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 ICAO condemns North Korea’s Missile Testing

 What are the consequences?

ICAO Council urges compliance from DPRK on aerial testing 


From ICAO:

“Montréal, 6 October 2017 – The ICAO Council today expressed its strong condemnation of the continued launching of ballistic missiles by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) over or near international air routes, which seriously threatens the safety of international civil aviation.


The ICAO Council urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to comply with the provisions of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, its Annexes, procedures, and relevant ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) in order to prevent the recurrence of such potentially hazardous activities.


The Council considered the item during the first meeting of its 212th Session today, at ICAO’s Headquarters in Montreal.


It was noted that the DPRK missile launches had occurred over international air routes and without prior notice being given, causing significant concerns to the safety of international civil aviation in the region. It was further noted that in response to these incidents, the President of the Council had sent several letters to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to urge the country to comply with established international provisions.


As an ICAO Member State, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is expected to notify adjacent countries of any activity or incident arising from its territory which may pose risks to nearby civil aviation routes or operations. This would include matters such as volcanic ash clouds from local eruptions, or aerial testing which may affect civil aviation.


Today’s Council Decision drew reference to ICAO Assembly Resolution A32-6, Safety of Navigation, adopted in 1998.”








So, what can ICAO do about the Kim Jong Un, a/k/a “Rocket Man”?

The Convention on International Civil Aviation,

signed at Chicago on 7 December 1944

Article 88

Penalty for non-conformity by State

The Assembly shall suspend 
the voting power in the Assembly and in the Council of any contracting State 
that is found in default under the provisions of this Chapter.

The rules and practices of the Montreal-based UN organization are the stuff of diplomacy. There may actually be provisions for expulsion and thus terminating the substantial rights and privileges under the Chicago Convention. Losing the Freedoms conveyed by the Chicago Convention would have significant economic consequences!

If ICAO’s only immediate deterrent is suspending the PDRK’s right to vote, one may reasonably expect that Kim Jong Un will continue to launch Hwasong-12 missiles from the outskirts of Pyongyang. To speculate what would happen if a Hwasong-12 hits a plane, a ship and/or occupied land only opens horrendous consequences.

The ICAO processes require substantial time to amend its Articles; so, suspending PDRK’s voting rights appears to be the only punishment.



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2 Comments on "ICAO threatens Rocket Happy North Korea—with what?"

  1. When I was on the Commission I often looked for the B-52s, never did find them. It’s true that voting rights are the only punishment ICAO can give out. It’s the other Contracting States that must take some action.They could cut off air transport rights with North Korea for example. I don’t know if North Korea gets any overflight money, but that could suffer. Give the world situation nothing much that ICAO could do would make a dent, but they do need to highlight the problem with the missiles and the NOPAC routes.

    • Jim, as noted (“The rules and practices of the Montreal-based UN organization are the stuff of diplomacy.”) a diplomat par excellence provides the definitive answer. Thanks, Mr. Loos!

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