« この冬、家族のお楽しみは動物園、水族園めぐりです | トップページ | 優れた日本のアニメ、ゲーム、マンガを世界に発信する、多言語の時代到来です »

2016年1月 8日 (金)

北朝鮮核実験 脅威の深刻化に迅速対応せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Intl community must address N. Korea nuclear threat swiftly / Regime’s unpredictable moves fuel instability
北朝鮮核実験 脅威の深刻化に迅速対応せよ


The nuclear threat posed by North Korea has entered a new stage. The international community must unite and take all possible steps to maintain the peace and stability in Asia.

North Korea has conducted its fourth nuclear test. Via a news broadcast on Korean Central Television, Pyongyang announced that it had successfully tested “its first hydrogen bomb.” It also said that with the success, the country had “joined the advanced ranks of nuclear weapons states that possess even hydrogen bombs.”

It was the second nuclear test conducted by the regime under its current leader, Kim Jong Un, following the one carried out in 2013.

In May, the country is scheduled to hold a Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea for the first time in 36 years. Kim, the first secretary of the party, may have intended to demonstrate his clout both at home and abroad by achieving the possession of a “hydrogen bomb.”

Outrageous act

We can never tolerate such an outrageous act by North Korea, which violates a number of resolutions by the U.N. Security Council that impose sanctions and call for the country to refrain from conducting nuclear tests and to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

As the seismic energy observed following the test was smaller than that observed in the previous test, most experts are skeptical that the latest test was of a hydrogen bomb. Some experts have said that it may have been a test of a “boosted fission bomb.” To begin with, it is uncertain whether the test was successful or not.

Even so, it is worrisome that a series of nuclear tests makes it more likely that the country will be able to develop smaller and more powerful nuclear weapons.

North Korea is said to have deployed a large number of Rodong ballistic missiles that can reach Japan. Should North Korea become able to mount nuclear warheads on such missiles, Japan’s security environment will dramatically deteriorate.

It is only reasonable for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to have said that the latest nuclear test is a “serious threat to the security of our nation,” adding, “I strongly condemn this.”

The Kim regime has been trying to improve the country’s relations with China recently.

Liu Yunshan, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, who ranks fifth in the party hierarchy, took part in a commemorative event held in October to mark the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s Workers’ Party. Liu urged North Korea to refrain from conducting such acts as a nuclear test.

Kim hinted in December that his country “possesses a hydrogen bomb.” But he made no reference to “nuclear” in his New Year’s address.

As North Korea did not give advance notice either to China or to the United States this time and there were hardly any indications that such a test was imminent, the latest test was a complete surprise. Making any rational predictions regarding the Kim regime has become ever more difficult.

Pass resolution

North Korea’s latest move may be an indication that Kim, who is trying to maintain his clout with a “reign of terror” by purging senior members of the ruling party one after another, is increasingly acting arbitrarily on his own authority.

The latest statement asserted that North Korea would not suspend or abandon its development of nuclear weapons “unless the United States has rolled back its hostile policy toward [North Korea].” Some perceive the latest nuclear test as having been aimed at resuming dialogue with the United States.

In October, however, U.S. President Barack Obama clearly stated that his administration would respond to North Korean nuclear testing with reinforced sanctions. North Korea’s latest move will only serve to internationally isolate the country even further.

The U.N. Security Council is set to convene an emergency session and discuss how to deal with the latest nuclear test. It is important to adopt a resolution to effectively strengthen sanctions on North Korea as soon as possible, thereby clarifying the council’s resolve to press the country to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

The latest provocation comes as Japan regained a nonpermanent seat on the security council this month. Japan should join hands with the United States and other pertinent countries to become proactively involved in adopting a sanctions resolution against North Korea.

The government has convened a meeting of four relevant Cabinet members of the National Security Council. They have analyzed information about North Korea’s action and discussed ways to deal with the situation. The government is considering the idea of reinstating some of the sanctions it lifted in July 2014, including one aimed at basically banning North Koreans from entering Japan.

North Korea has also continued to put off reporting to Japan the results of its renewed investigation into the fate of Japanese nationals abducted by that country. We believe the government must take stern action against North Korea.

It is important for the government to persistently seek action from North Korea while adhering to the fundamental principle regarding efforts to comprehensively resolve issues related to that nation, including the abduction problem and its nuclear weapons and missiles programs.

It is also important to increase cooperative ties between the Self-Defense Forces and U.S. forces, based on the Japan-U.S. alliance. The security-related laws established in autumn last year have made it possible for our nation to take such measures as defending U.S. vessels engaged in keeping guard against any attempt to launch a ballistic missile. Efforts should be made to expand joint Japan-U.S. vigilance and surveillance activities in areas surrounding Japan, thereby increasing deterrence.

It is also indispensable to facilitate close cooperation with South Korea. South Korean President Park Geun-hye has emphasized the importance of forcing North Korea to “pay the right price” for its latest provocation.

China pressure vital

Late last year, the Japanese and South Korean governments reached a deal on the issue of so-called comfort women. The momentum generated for improving Japan-South Korea relations should be efficiently used to deepen bilateral cooperation.

The key to dealing with North Korea from the standpoint of increased pressure on that country is China.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has expressed “resolute opposition” to North Korea’s nuclear test, urging Pyongyang to honor its pledge of denuclearization.

China was previously hesitant to impose tough sanctions that could destabilize the North Korean regime, despite championing efforts to make the Korean Peninsula nuclear-free. There is no doubt that China’s lenient stance has allowed North Korea to develop nuclear weapons.

North Korea relies on China for most of its petroleum. North Koreans cannot live without commodities from China.

This is at last the time when the administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping, which can make or break North Korea, must go all out to exert pressure on Pyongyang, thereby forcing North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 7, 2016)


« この冬、家族のお楽しみは動物園、水族園めぐりです | トップページ | 優れた日本のアニメ、ゲーム、マンガを世界に発信する、多言語の時代到来です »





« この冬、家族のお楽しみは動物園、水族園めぐりです | トップページ | 優れた日本のアニメ、ゲーム、マンガを世界に発信する、多言語の時代到来です »