北朝鮮核実験 度重なる暴挙に厳格対処せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(May. 26, 2009)
N. Korea must suffer consequences for N-test
北朝鮮核実験 度重なる暴挙に厳格対処せよ(5月26日付・読売社説)

North Korea went ahead with its second underground nuclear test Monday.

The country just test-launched a long-range ballistic missile on April 5, defying the warnings of the international community. The latest nuclear test, which could improve North Korea's ability to make more compact nuclear bombs, has clarified Pyongyang's wild obsession with perfecting a nuclear missile as soon as possible.

When North Korea pressed ahead with its first nuclear test three years ago, the world entered a dangerous new nuclear age. The country's repeated provocations have further damaged stability and increased tensions in the Northeastern Asian region.


Tougher sanctions by UNSC

The latest test puts Japan in a more serious situation since the country is located within range of Rodong missiles North Korea already has deployed. It was reasonable that the government immediately called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council. We must deal severely with Pyongyang's malicious acts.

The latest test is an apparent violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718 which was approved unanimously after North Korea's first nuclear test in October 2006. It means that Pyongyang has again trampled on the resolution calling on the country to suspend nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches.

Immediately after the Security Council adopted a chairman's statement condemning the country's ballistic missile launch, North Korea last month criticized the Security Council, saying the U.N. rebuke was unfair because the event in question was a peaceful satellite launch. We think Pyongyang merely tried to hide its own violation behind sophistry and euphemism.

In addition, after the Security Council blacklisted three North Korean companies, singling them out for sanctions, Pyongyang threatened to conduct nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests unless the council apologized for criticizing the April 5 missile launch and lifted sanctions on North Korea and other entities concerned.

The conducting of the latest test is seen as an extension of that statement. After the test, North Korea also test-launched three short-range missiles. Will Pyongyang threaten to launch a long-range ballistic missile next time if the Security Council starts discussing sanctions against it?


Defiance must end

How can we stop the nuclear missile development program Pyongyang is defiantly advancing? The international community has to make a levelheaded judgment on this problem and deal with it in a coordinated manner.

One of the options the Security Council has at hand is adoption of a resolution to strengthen sanctions against North Korea. Sanctions laid out in Security Council Resolution 1718 adopted three years ago were not fully implemented because North Korea later returned to the six-party talks, a multinational effort to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program. A few more of those sanctions were implemented after the latest ballistic missile test, but the situation cannot remain as it is now.

Three years ago, Japan, as a nonpermanent member of the Security Council, led adoption of the sanctions resolution against North Korea along with the United States, Britain and France. Likewise, as a nonpermanent member again, the country should lead efforts to have the Security Council adopt a resolution to toughen sanctions against North Korea.

Prime Minister Taro Aso and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak spoke on the telephone after the test and confirmed that Tokyo and Seoul would work together with Washington and should take stringent and resolute action against Pyongyang through the Security Council.


Vital role for China

The government said it would consider additional sanctions of its own against North Korea. However, these alone will have no affect at all on North Korea. It is far more significant to make international cooperative efforts against the North.

At present, the role of China, upon which North Korea is economically dependent, is particularly important in pressuring Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program. The prime minister should try hard to convince China and Russia, which are expected to maintain cautious attitudes, to agree with stricter sanctions against North Korea.

The six-party talks aim at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear development program through negotiations. But, Pyongyang's second nuclear test has undermined the significance of the talks.

It is apparent that North Korea is trying to destroy the six-party talks. Last month, Pyongyang condemned the Security Council and said that it would never attend the six-party talks again. North Korea's real intention is not to abandon its nuclear weapons program, but to establish its nuclear capability as a fact.

However, this does not mean that denuclearization of North Korea, a common goal shared by Japan, China, South Korea, Russia and the United States, is lost. It is a pressing issue for the five countries not to accept North Korea's ongoing possession of nuclear weapons as a fact and to take effective measures to end it.

In that sense, the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, with which North Korea wishes to have direct talks, bears heavy responsibility. We expect the administration to maintain a resolute attitude against North Korea so that Pyongyang will understand normalization of diplomatic ties with the United States is impossible as long as North Korea possesses nuclear weapons and to consider abandoning them.

North Korea also said it has started reprocessing spent nuclear fuel rods, suggesting increased production of plutonium for nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, Pyongyang said that trials would start for two U.S. journalists arrested on suspicion of spying. It also raised tensions with Seoul, announcing the unilateral cancellation of all contracts with South Korea concerning the Kaesong industrial complex.


Succession a factor?

The extreme hardline attitude displayed by Pyongyang might be related to preparations by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, whose health has allegedly been failing since last year, to groom a replacement to succeed him. The danger of nuclear missile development going on under such conditions requires careful attention.

U.S. nuclear deterrence is only one countermeasure for nonnuclear Japan to dissuade North Korea from using nuclear weapons. It is necessary to ensure confidence in the Japan-U.S. alliance so that the so-called nuclear umbrella can be relied on to function without fail.

The government also should improve and expand the missile defense system further. In addition to the steady deployment of interceptor missiles, the effectiveness of the system should be improved through information-sharing and improvement of interoperability with the United States.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 26, 2009)
(2009年5月26日02時10分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2009-05-26 10:41 | 英字新聞

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