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2013年5月10日 (金)

米韓首脳会談 対「北」包囲網の強化に繋げよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun May 10, 2013
Reinforce coalition to deter North Korean provocations
米韓首脳会談 対「北」包囲網の強化に繋げよ(5月9日付・読売社説)

The United States and South Korea must closely cooperate with Japan, China and Russia to formulate a strategy to pressure North Korea into renouncing its ambition to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

This strategy should build a stronger coalition network committed to containing North Korea.

U.S. President Barack Obama had his first summit meeting with South Korean President Park Geun Hye in Washington this week. North Korea was the main focus of their talks. The leaders agreed to patiently continue their efforts to compel the Kim Jong Un regime to comply with its international obligations and move toward denuclearization.

The U.S. and South Korean leaders also issued a joint declaration to deepen their bilateral alliance, the 60th anniversary of which is marked this year.

Intl cooperation crucial

The declaration declares the U.S.-South Korean alliance a "linchpin of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific" and stipulates the promotion of cooperation in a wide variety of fields such as energy security, antiterrorism measures and nuclear nonproliferation. Concerning actions against North Korea, the declaration specifies cooperation with partner nations involved in six-party talks.

The true test of the renewed U.S.-South Korean alliance will be whether the partners can pull the reclusive nation into the spotlight of the international community.

At a joint press conference after the summit talks, Obama said the two countries will strengthen their deterrence against the North and clearly indicated the United States is ready to have a dialogue with Pyongyang if it moves toward denuclearization.

Park highlighted that the international community must unite to send a strong message to North Korea. She also talked about the important roles China and Russia must play in achieving the denuclearization of the North.

The Bank of China, a major Chinese bank, has reportedly notified the Foreign Trade Bank of North Korea that its account has been shut down and its transactions halted. If this is true, we applaud the action as a symbol of China's cooperation with sanctions imposed by the United States and Japan against Pyongyang.

No mention of Japan

We question, however, Park's neglect to mention the necessity of cooperation with Japan in dealing with North Korea.

According to South Korean sources, Obama acknowledged during the talks that close cooperation among Japan, South Korea and the United States is necessary to address the North Korea issue, but Park replied, "For peace in the Northeast Asia region, Japan should have a correct recognition of history."

It is quite rare for a national leader to refer to a third nation's "recognition of history" during a bilateral summit meeting. Park's remark apparently stemmed from strong opposition within South Korea to visits to Yasukuni Shrine by ministers in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, among other matters.

Park has made two proposals for peace in the region. The Korean Peninsula Trust Process aims to build confidence between the two Koreas, and the Northeast Asian Peace and Cooperation Initiative is a means for relevant countries to discuss ushering in a new era for regional peace and cooperation.

Even if South Korea is able to open the door to dialogue with the North, the regional peace initiative will become meaningless if Seoul is unable to communicate with Japan. This is surely not Park's intention.

Japan and South Korea should not allow controversial historical and territorial disagreements to get in the way of cooperation on bigger issues. Such a situation would only benefit North Korea.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 9, 2013)
(2013年5月9日01時28分  読売新聞)


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