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2010年12月 9日 (木)

日米韓外相会談 中国と連携し対北圧力強めよ

Nations should present united front on N. Korea
The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 9, 2010)
日米韓外相会談 中国と連携し対北圧力強めよ(12月8日付・読売社説)

In dealing with North Korea, an important task for Japan, South Korea and the United States will be to cooperate with China and Russia in rebuilding a framework in which to bring both diplomatic and military pressure to bear on the reclusive state's regime.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and South Korean Foreign and Trade Minister Kim Sung Hwan met in Washington to discuss the North Korean problem. Their joint statement, issued after their talks at the U.S. State Department, condemned North Korea for its recent artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea, while also urging Pyongyang to take specific steps toward scrapping its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea's artillery shelling, combined with its revelation of new uranium enrichment efforts, has heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Given this, the latest meeting of the three foreign ministers to reconfirm unity among their nations bears a great deal of significance.

The three foreign ministers had good reason when they demanded that North Korea "take concrete steps to demonstrate a genuine commitment to...denuclearization" in exchange for resuming six-party talks over that country's nuclear program. China has called for convening a meeting of the chief negotiators from the six nations.


An old Pyongyang ploy

North Korea should not be allowed to enjoy impunity after its reckless military action, which even killed and injured South Korean civilians.

It would be unwise to readily respond to an old ploy adopted by North Korea--that is, playing a carefully calibrated game of provocations, including nuclear and missile threats, to coax other nations into diplomatic negotiations and eventually gain a reward in return.

Under the circumstances, it is North Korea--not the other participants in the six-party talks--that should make concessions to defuse a crisis of its own making, despite prospects that the parties will eventually return to the negotiating table at the talks in any case.

China is the key to determining what will evolve from the status quo. Beijing must assume even greater responsibility to fulfill its role as the chair of the six-party negotiations.

China's current priority is to ensure North Korea is not provoked, while also wielding a certain degree of clout on the cash-strapped nation through food and energy assistance. However, it will be indispensable for China to persuade North Korea that it must take "concrete steps" to overcome the current gridlock.

The meeting of the three foreign ministers was preceded by a telephone conversation between U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao. Obama reportedly urged the Chinese leader to send North Korea a clear message that acts of provocation will not be tolerated.

Washington is believed to be working in a similar vein behind the scenes, telling Beijing that a planned visit to the United States by the Chinese president in January will not be fruitful unless progress is made in resolving the North Korean problem. It is important for Japan and South Korea to lend the United States a helping hand as it seeks to accomplish the goal.


Military readiness a must

No less essential is smooth cooperation among the three nations in dealing with military affairs. On Friday, the Self-Defense Forces commenced an eight-day joint exercise with the U.S. military in waters around this country. The South Korean military has dispatched observers to the Japan-U.S. joint drill, one of the largest of its kind.

To prevent further acts of provocation by North Korea, it is essential that Japan, the United States and South Korea should build a greater deterrent to the unpredictable country, combined with efforts to ensure their joint actions fully serve their purposes.

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, has started a trip to Japan and South Korea.  マレン米統合参謀本部議長が日韓両国訪問を開始した。

His visit to Tokyo and Seoul should be used as an initial step toward discussing what specific roles should be played by Japan, South Korea and the United States in coping with possible military contingencies on the peninsula, drawing up and improving a joint operational plan to be implemented in that event--a task that goes beyond joint military exercises.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 8, 2010)
(2010年12月8日00時57分  読売新聞)


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