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2013年4月 3日 (水)

北朝鮮威嚇外交 「核攻撃」予告は度が過ぎる

[The Yomiuri Shimbun] April 3, 2013
Editorial / North Korea will gain nothing from its nuclear intimidation
北朝鮮威嚇外交 「核攻撃」予告は度が過ぎる(4月2日付・読売社説)

North Korea's decision to boost its nuclear capability is a blatant provocation made in defiance of a U.N. Security Council resolution, which prohibits Pyongyang from conducting further nuclear tests or ballistic missile launches.

The international community needs to answer this provocation by strengthening sanctions against North Korea.

At a general meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, the party's first secretary, Kim Jong Un, unveiled a new strategic policy aimed at boosting its nuclear capability both in quality and quantity, along with economic reconstruction. He also indicated Pyongyang would continue test-firing de facto long-range ballistic missiles.

The decision to strengthen both its economy and its nuclear arsenal was approved by the Supreme People's Assembly on Monday.

China loses face

Kim's decision made China lose face. China, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, supported the U.N. resolution imposing sanctions on Pyongyang.

China is North Korea's largest trading partner and aid donor. It also is a major supplier of energy.

The administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping is duty-bound to implement the sanctions resolution and apply pressure on North Korea by all available means. This would mean strengthening restrictions and monitoring the flow of money, goods and people, as well as halting the supply of crude oil and other steps.

There also is concern that North Korea's rhetoric and actions aimed at intimidating the international community have become excessive, going far beyond conventional norms.

North Korea has torn up the armistice that halted the Korean War, and the country's supreme military command has said it will put its armed forces on the highest level of alert to ensure they are combat ready. The nation therefore has placed itself on a war footing, with Kim himself touring the front lines.

Boasting of its nuclear weapons, Pyongyang even mentioned making preemptive nuclear strikes not only on South Korea but also on the U.S. mainland and Japan. By playing around with its nuclear arsenal, Pyongyang is acting extremely dangerously.

The United States' unusual announcement on the participation of B-52 strategic bombers and its most advanced B-2 stealth bombers in joint military exercises with South Korea was meant to rein in North Korea.

Japan and other nations concerned must keep a close eye on North Korea's behavior and make preparations to deal with any contingency.

Kim solidifying power

Behind North Korea's moves is Kim's apparent desire to solidify his power base as it has been a year since he was formally named successor to his late father, Kim Jong Il.

Only 30 years old, the inexperienced North Korean leader has trumpeted the nation's most recent nuclear test and missile launch as proud achievements. Little progress has been seen in reconstructing the country's failed economy. He probably has no choice but to strengthen his influence and authority as the top leader by pursuing a military-first policy through such means as further nuclear armament.

As a result, sanctions against North Korea have been strengthened, further isolating the country in the international community. Its efforts to diversify trade and invite investment are hardly likely to meet with success.

Kim should be keenly aware that the pursuits of nuclear armament and economic reconstruction are incompatible.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 2, 2013)
(2013年4月2日01時21分  読売新聞)


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