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2012年12月 5日 (水)

北ミサイル予告 発射阻止へ国際連携の強化を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 5, 2012)
Multilateral cooperation needed to stop missile launch
北ミサイル予告 発射阻止へ国際連携の強化を(12月4日付・読売社説)

North Korea recently announced it would launch a long-range ballistic missile between Monday and Dec. 22 under the guise of sending a "satellite" into orbit.

However hard Pyongyang insists that its plan is to launch a satellite for peaceful purposes, the mechanism used to launch a missile is the same as that used to launch a satellite. It is a clear violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution prohibiting North Korea from conducting nuclear tests and "any launch using ballistic missile technology."

This is a serious provocation to the international community.

After North Korea launched its last missile in April, the Security Council adopted a presidential statement expressing the council's "determination to take action accordingly" if the country launched another missile or conducted a nuclear test.

We urge the Security Council to take decisive action over North Korea's reckless plan, which openly ignores the warnings of the international community.

Pyongyang said the new missile launch is being conducted on the instructions of Kim Jong Il, who died in December 2011.


North Korea's intentions

The missile launch is believed to be part of North Korea's program to strengthen the country's nuclear deterrence capability--initiated by Kim--through the development of nuclear programs, extending the range of ballistic missiles and improving their accuracy. We assume the administration of Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Il's successor, also is trying to cement its authority.

Japan's House of Representatives election and South Korea's presidential election will be held during the period the missile is scheduled to be launched. In recent months, U.S. President Barack Obama has been reelected and China's Xi Jinping took over the reins of the Communist Party.

The fact that Pyongyang has timed the launch to coincide with a period when these nations face difficulty in coordinating policies against its actions indicates North Korea aims to learn how each country will react.

Although North Korea apparently is trying to undermine the international alliance against the country, the international community should not allow North Korea the slightest chance of success. Countries concerned, such as Japan, the United States, South Korea, China and Russia, should join hands to pressure North Korea to cancel the missile launch.

North Korea says it has studied the reasons why the launch in April failed and has succeeded in improving the reliability of the missile it plans to launch this month. There is speculation that Iran and other countries have provided technological assistance.

This suggests U.N. sanctions have not been implemented thoroughly and lack substance. The Security Council's sanctions on North Korea included an embargo on exports by other countries of materials related to nuclear weapons and missiles, as well as luxury goods. It also ordered suspicious cargo to be inspected.


Learn lessons from April launch

China especially has a heavy responsibility for North Korea's actions, as a permanent member of the Security Council, a neighbor and its largest trading partner.

It was appropriate for the Japanese government to have taken concrete measures against the missile launch immediately after North Korea's announcement.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has decided to postpone intergovernment talks with North Korea, which were scheduled to begin Wednesday. Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto has ordered Self-Defense Forces to prepare its missile defense system to shoot down the North Korean missile. The government plans to host a meeting of the nation's Security Council this week and issue an order to destroy the missile if it strays over Japanese territory.

When Pyongyang launched its missile in April, the government displayed remarkable confusion in confirming information on the launch. We urge the government to learn from this bitter lesson and make a wholehearted effort to pass along information collected by the early warning system.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 4, 2012)
(2012年12月4日01時43分  読売新聞)


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