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2016年2月18日 (木)

朝鮮半島緊張 「北」の軍事挑発に警戒怠るな

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Vigilance must be increased over North Korean military provocation
朝鮮半島緊張 「北」の軍事挑発に警戒怠るな

Ignoring repeated calls for self-restraint from the international community, North Korea continues taking provocative actions. Pyongyang should quickly recognize that such actions will only deepen its isolation and aggravate its plight.

The Korean Central News Agency reported Monday that Kim Jong Un, the first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, called for more satellite launches in the future. This suggests that the country will launch long-range ballistic missiles again.

Defense Minister Gen Nakatani pointed out Tuesday, “We cannot rule out the possibility of North Korea’s repeatedly launching missiles on the pretext of launching satellites.”

It is important for Japan to cooperate with other countries concerned, including the United States and South Korea, and increase its vigilance.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said in a parliamentary address, “If time passes like this with no change, Kim Jong Un’s regime, on a reckless run without brakes, will deploy nuclear missiles.” It was reasonable for Park to have warned the nation of the danger of an increasing North Korean threat in light of advances in the North’s military technologies.

In imposing sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear test last month and the latest launch of a long-range ballistic missile, South Korea suspended all operations at Kaesong industrial park, a jointly run cooperation project in North Korea.

Problematic is that North Korea has unilaterally declared the Kaesong complex a military control zone and shut down cross-border telecommunications hot lines for both military forces.

North Korea has taken these steps apparently because it was upset by Seoul’s aiming to cut financial resources of the Kim regime.

Concerted trilateral moves

Since the Kaesong industrial complex started operations in 2004, North Korea has earned a total of $560 million (or about ¥63.4 billion) in foreign currency, including workers’ wages. Seventy percent of the money paid in wages and for other things is said to have gone to the Workers’ Party, which funneled it toward its nuclear and missile development programs or to purchase luxury goods.

There were also news reports saying that the chief of staff of the North Korean Army was recently executed. First Secretary Kim may have become unable to maintain his regime without resorting to a reign of terror by purging one aide after another among senior officials of the military or the ruling party.

It is inevitable for the tensions between the two Koreas to increase. The U.S. forces will deploy a nuclear-powered attack submarine and F-22 stealth fighter planes in and around South Korea. The United States and South Korea should cooperate and deter North Korea from engaging in military provocations.

In her address, Park emphasized that her country is advancing the buildup of defense capabilities of the U.S.-South Korea alliance.

Park’s new policy of negotiating with Washington over the deployment of a state-of-the-art U.S. missile defense system in her country, which she had been wary about, is also part of the defense buildup.

In South Korea, senior officials of the ruling party, a leading newspaper and others have begun to publicly refer to the idea of arming the country with nuclear weapons. Park’s parliamentary remarks may also be aimed at cooling off such a move.

Park has highly rated Japan’s imposition of unilateral sanctions on North Korea, saying it has demonstrated Japan’s strong will not to overlook its behavior.

It is vitally important to make use of the momentum of concerted moves by Japan, the United States and South Korea toward tough sanctions against North Korea so as to realize the adoption of a resolution by the U.N. Security Council.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 17, 2016)


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