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2016年2月 5日 (金)

北ミサイル予告 挑発許さぬ意思を明確に示せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Send North Korea clear message that missile provocation won’t be tolerated
北ミサイル予告 挑発許さぬ意思を明確に示せ

The international community must stand united and ratchet up the pressure on North Korea to deter that nation from advancing its nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea has given notice that it will launch a satellite between Feb. 8 and Feb. 25. Although Pyongyang stubbornly insists the launch is for peaceful purposes, it will actually be a launch of a long-range ballistic missile.

A number of U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibit North Korea from conducting launches that use ballistic missile technology. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was quite right to demand that North Korea refrain from going through with the launch, saying, “This would constitute a violation of these resolutions and represent a serious provocation to Japan’s security.”

On Jan. 6, North Korea pressed ahead with a nuclear test in violation of Security Council resolutions. Its notification of the planned launch has ratcheted up the threat to regional stability even higher. It is essential that the nations concerned work closely together and send a clear message that the launch is not tolerable.

North Korea has used its nuclear tests to make progress on the miniaturization of a warhead. It is believed to be attempting to boost the capability of its long-range ballistic missiles, including increasing their range, as it seeks to acquire a means to attack the U.S. mainland.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un apparently aims to display his achievements to domestic and international audiences before the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea meets in May for its first convention in 36 years. Scheduling the launch for around the time of important events to mark the birthday of Kim’s father — former leader Kim Jong Il — might also be aimed at enhancing that nation’s prestige.

China must step up

It is disconcerting that although almost one month has passed since North Korea conducted a nuclear test, the U.N. Security Council has not yet adopted a sanctions resolution. This is because China has opposed U.S. attempts to impose tough sanctions, including an embargo on shipments of fuel to North Korea.

During his recent visit to China, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on Beijing to cooperate in imposing sanctions, as it “has a particular ability because of its special role and its connections to North Korea.” However, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi maintained a fundamental argument from start to finish that any new resolution “must not destabilize the Korean Peninsula.”

China’s reluctance to give sanctions more bite has undeniably allowed North Korea to rattle the region by issuing a notification of the upcoming launch. Pyongyang’s launch announcement came on the day Wu Dawei, China’s special representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs, arrived in North Korea for a visit. This indicates China has not exerted enough pressure on North Korea.

We think China should adjust its lenient attitude toward North Korea, work with Japan, the United States and South Korea — nations calling for stricter sanctions — and do more to ensure the U.N. Security Council quickly adopts a new resolution.

There are fears that if North Korea goes ahead with the launch, its missile could fly over the Sakishima islands in Okinawa Prefecture. The government must take every available step to ensure the safety of residents.

The defense minister has issued a “destructive measures order” to the Self-Defense Forces. Interceptor missiles on Aegis destroyers and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) surface-to-air guided missile units have been put on alert to shoot down the missile if required. It also will be important to make preparations to ensure early warning information is smoothly conveyed through channels, including the “J-Alert” national instant warning system.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 4, 2016)


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