日中韓首脳会談 「北」へ明確な意思表示が必要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Apr. 12, 2009)
Intl community must unite on N. Korea
日中韓首脳会談 「北」へ明確な意思表示が必要だ(4月12日付・読売社説)

The international community has to stand together and clearly state its position to ensure North Korea refrains from further missile development and launches.

Prime Minister Taro Aso discussed issues related to North Korea on Saturday with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak in Pattaya, Thailand, where a series of regional summit meetings related to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations were scheduled but canceled due to chaos caused by demonstrations against the Thai government.

The three leaders agreed at their bilateral and trilateral meetings to accelerate negotiations on a U.N. Security Council presidential statement so that the council could send out a united message against North Korea's missile launch as soon as possible.

North Korea's missile, which is said to have been a modified Taepodong-2 ballistic missile, failed to separate its second- and third-stage boosters, and to place a satellite in orbit. However, its flight distance was estimated to have been more than 3,000 kilometers, which is much further than the Taepodong-1 missile test-fired in 1998 traveled.

The extended range achieved by the Taepodong-2 does not pose any additional direct threat to Japan. But, if it leads to a general improvement of North Korea's missile technology, it would increase the threat posed by Pyongyang's Rodong medium-range ballistic missiles, which can hit any part of Japan.


UNSC backing Japan stance

In any case, the latest missile launch remains an act that undermined peace and stability in Asia. If the international community takes an ambiguous stance toward Pyongyang this time, it would set a bad precedent that says a missile test conducted under the guise of a satellite launch cannot be denounced.

A draft presidential statement under negotiation at the U.N. Security Council includes a denouncement of the launch and a demand that Pyongyang refrain from test-firing a missile again. It also will list additional items to be put under embargo regarding North Korea to strengthen and strictly enforce the 2006 sanctions resolution.

If these contents remain in the document, the statement will be able to be evaluated as properly reflecting Japan's position. The government needs to continue making diplomatic efforts for a quick adoption of the presidential statement at the Security Council.


ODA key to diplomacy

Meanwhile, the main agenda at the scheduled ASEAN-related summit meetings was how to bring about a recovery of the Asian economy.

It is regrettable that the meetings were canceled, but the prime minister has already announced that Japan will provide 2 trillion yen as official development assistance for other Asian nations. It is important to set ODA projects in motion as soon as possible.

Japan's assistance to other Asian countries to help them stave off the economic crisis is significant in terms of preventing an escalation of the global recession that started in the United States. If the other Asian economies recover, it will eventually reward Japan.

ODA is one of Japan's most powerful diplomatic tools. Since all 10 member countries of ASEAN have official relations with North Korea, providing them with ODA indirectly helps Tokyo in its diplomatic negotiations with Pyongyang.

However, Japan's ODA budget has been decreasing for 12 straight years and the amount is now exceeded by the United States and the major nations of Europe.

It is a matter of course that the efficiency of ODA should be improved, but the budget allocated for it also should be increased as soon as possible after so many years of decline.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 12, 2009)
(2009年4月12日01時46分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2009-04-12 09:55 | 英字新聞

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