北ミサイル発射 安保理は制裁決議の再確認を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Apr. 6, 2009)
UNSC must be tough with North Korea
北ミサイル発射 安保理は制裁決議の再確認を(4月6日付・読売社説)

North Korea's launch of a ballistic missile on Sunday was a reckless and dangerous provocation that stokes tension in the international community and directly threatens its peace and stability.

Japan was quite justified, along with the United States and South Korea, to have unreservedly condemned North Korea over the launch and immediately called on the U.N. Security Council to convene an emergency meeting.

The request for the meeting was made after North Korea launched a three-stage, long-range ballistic missile, which the reclusive state claimed was a "rocket carrying a satellite." The Japanese government itself confirmed the missile had been launched.

Japan, the United States and South Korea were united in pressing North Korea to abandon the plan, repeatedly warning the country that even a launch of a satellite would be a breach of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718, which demanded North Korea suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program.


Breach of U.N. resolution

However, North Korea thumbed its nose at the warnings and went ahead with the launch.

North Korea is believed to have launched a modified version of the Taepodong-2 long-range ballistic missile. Three years ago, that country's test of such a missile ended in failure.

This time, however, North Korea declared its launch a success. This display was aimed at showing its improved missile technology.

Domestically, North Korea's regime has been shaken over concerns regarding the health of its leader, Kim Jong Il, and its collapsing economy. Sunday's launch, therefore, appears to have been aimed at restoring the regime's stability.

The principles employed in rockets and missiles are the same. Attaching a nuclear warhead to a rocket instead of a satellite is enough to turn the projectile into a nuclear missile.

Japan is within range of Rodong missiles, which North Korea has deployed ready for an attack. If North Korea succeeds in downsizing a nuclear weapon and possesses a nuclear warhead, Japan will instantly come under direct threat from a nuclear missile. Consequently, the government must use every option at its disposal to press North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons.

North Korea insists that every country has the right to use space for peaceful purposes. However, that country's concurrent development of nuclear technology and missiles are all essential parts needed to complete a nuclear missile.


UNSC should stand united

The Security Council is divided over how to respond to North Korea's missile launch. Among permanent members with veto-wielding power, Britain and France have taken steps in line with Japan and the United States, agreeing the launch was a violation of the Security Council resolution. However, China and Russia disagree.

Before the latest launch, North Korea fulfilled the international obligations necessary for conducting a satellite launch, including giving advance notice of the launch, joining the U.N. Outer Space Treaty and reporting the scheduled launch to the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Resolution 1718 does not explicitly ban North Korea from launching a satellite. This was behind the refusal of China and Russia to agree that the launch breached the resolution.

However, any dillydallying by Security Council members over how to interpret the resolution, which would expose a lack of unity, will only benefit North Korea.

Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone agreed during phone conversations with his U.S. and South Korean counterparts that the launch must not be tolerated because it breached the U.N. resolution. They also were on the same page over the necessity of sending a strong message to North Korea at the Security Council.

We think the Security Council should reaffirm the strict interpretation of Resolution 1718, which demanded North Korea abandon all nuclear weapons and suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program.


Sanctions should be tightened

Meanwhile, the Japanese government is set to extend its own economic sanctions against North Korea, which have been renewed every six months, by one year. The government is considering imposing additional sanctions, such as a total ban on exports to that country. Japan faces the greatest risk from North Korea's missile launch. Given this, we think it is reasonable to strengthen sanctions imposed on that country.

The latest launch also left uncertain the fate of six-party talks aimed at dismantling North Korea's nuclear program. The talks have been stalled since North Korea disagreed with procedures aimed at verifying its declaration of its nuclear program.

North Korea has threatened to quit further six-party talks if the missile launch is taken up at the Security Council. If that country intends to leave the six-party framework, the Security Council should pressure North Korea by adopting a new resolution to force it back to the negotiating table.

North Korea has declared it will continue launching "satellites."

Japan's missile defense system must be galvanized to prepare for and respond to North Korea's missile threat. It will be crucial to boost the accuracy of missile interceptions by stepping up training exercises and improving the system's efficiency.


Learn lessons from false alarms

Ahead of the latest launch, the Maritime Self-Defense Force's Aegis-equipped destroyers and Air Self-Defense Force surface-to-air missile units were deployed to prepare for any emergencies. Fortunately, they were not called on to intercept the launched missile.

The government used for the first time the Em-Net emergency network that links the Cabinet Secretariat with local governments via a special line to swiftly relay information on the missile launch. Regrettably, the government issued two false missile alarms Saturday.

The false alarms were issued after the ASDF radar system falsely detected "traces of a flying object" and erroneous information was relayed within the Defense Ministry. These mistakes raise serious questions about the government's crisis-management capability.

North Korean missiles can reach Japanese territory in 10 minutes. To ensure the public's safety and relieve their anxiety as much as possible, the government must pursue both promptness and accuracy in the provision of emergency information.

The government should learn from the mistakes made Saturday by double-checking information that will be conveyed to the public, and improving how this information is relayed.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 6, 2009)
(2009年4月6日01時49分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2009-04-06 08:49 | 英字新聞

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