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2009年6月29日 (月)

日韓首脳会談 忍耐強く「北」に圧力をかけよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jun. 29, 2009)
United front needed in confronting N. Korea
日韓首脳会談 忍耐強く「北」に圧力をかけよ(6月29日付・読売社説)

As long as North Korea does not change its provocative attitude, it is important for the international community to patiently continue to put pressure on the country.

During a summit meeting in Tokyo on Sunday, Prime Minister Taro Aso and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak reaffirmed that "Pyongyang's nuclear development poses a serious threat and is not acceptable." They also agreed on the importance of bilateral cooperation, as well as working with the United States, in dealing with North Korea, aiming for the "faithful implementation" of a U.N. Security Council resolution on sanctions against North Korea.

After North Korea conducted a nuclear test in 2006, the United States lifted its own financial sanctions against North Korea to get the country back to the six-party talks. In addition, the United States continued to take a soft approach by supplying heavy oil and removing the country from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.

However, the process of verifying that Pyongyang's declared nuclear programs had been halted and all its existing nuclear facilities had been disabled was left unfinished.

The same mistakes should not be repeated. It is natural not to reward North Korea for returning to the six-party talks and it is indispensable to impose harsh punishment on reckless deeds that ignored the warnings of the international community.


China's role vital

The success of the U.N. Security Council resolution on sanctions against North Korea, including cargo inspections, depends on how China deals with North Korea because Beijing has a large influence on Pyongyang through trade and food and energy assistance.

China also clearly said that it will not allow possession of nuclear weapons by North Korea. Strengthening military deterrence among Japan, South Korea and the United States to counter Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threats is not desirable for China.

It is extremely important to continue to urge China to make a "responsible response" to North Korea, including putting pressure on the country.

Many observers pointed out that the aim of Pyongyang's missile launches and nuclear tests is not to just strengthen its bargaining chip against the United States, but also are tied to the domestic situation and the need to solidify the regime of the successor to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

If this is true, it is possible North Korea could turn a deaf ear to warnings by relevant countries and dare to launch longer-range missiles. The international community needs to prepare for a long war.


Deeper discussions

Meanwhile, it is important to discuss a new type of consultation in preparation for a future return of North Korea to the six-party talks. If the talks continue as five-party talks without North Korea, as proposed by Lee, such an occasion would be a good opportunity to deepen the discussion for that purpose.

The framework of the six-party talks itself is reasonable and it should be maintained in terms of the role it affords Japan in handling issues related to North Korea. Furthermore, participating countries should rack their brains for measures to apply the brakes to any future nuclear test by Pyongyang and ways to lead North Korea toward nuclear disarmament .

In Sunday's summit meeting, Aso and Lee also agreed to promote cooperation on assistance for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and on antipiracy efforts off Somalia.

Since the start of Lee's administration in February 2008, the bilateral relationship between Japan and South Korea has strengthened in a wide range of fields. We hope that the two countries will establish a stronger relationship of trust by achieving tangible results.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 29, 2009)
(2009年6月29日01時43分  読売新聞)


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