北ミサイル発射 安保理は制裁強化を決議せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 14, 2012)
UNSC should tighten sanctions on Pyongyang
北ミサイル発射 安保理は制裁強化を決議せよ(12月13日付・読売社説)

Ignoring international warnings, North Korea fired a long-range ballistic missile under the guise of launching what it claimed to be an observation satellite.

Once again, Pyongyang flouted without compunction U.N. resolutions that prohibit the country from engaging in any launching activities involving ballistic missile technology.

After North Korea's previous missile launch in April ended in failure, the U.N. Security Council issued a presidential statement warning it would "take action accordingly" in the event of another launch or a nuclear test.

We strongly urge the Security Council to swiftly adopt a resolution to tighten sanctions on North Korea.

The United States has imposed powerful financial sanctions on Iran, which have had a certain level of effect. We believe it is time to consider similar actions on North Korea.

China, a permanent Security Council member, must recognize the responsibility it bears in this matter. If China blocks a UNSC binding resolution, North Korea will do nothing to change its reckless behavior.


Pyongyang's true motive

North Korea hailed the missile launch as a success, saying it put a "satellite into orbit as planned."

This time around, it appears North Korea succeeded in controlling the missile's flight, separating second- and third-stage rockets, the main tasks it faced toward developing the capability to fire long-range ballistic missiles. North Korea's missile range has extended considerably and its accuracy has improved, posing a grave threat to the international community.

Why is North Korea so obsessed with launching "satellites" at enormous costs? It is unthinkable the true purpose was to put a shoddy satellite into orbit. The truth is that the hermetic country believes its survival depends on bolstering its nuclear deterrence capability by possessing atomic weapons and missiles to carry the payloads.

According to South Korean TV reports, then former chief of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army delivered an address to military executives at the start of this year, saying: "Launching a satellite is equal to [launching] a weaponized rocket. It enables us to install nuclear weapons on rockets capable of reaching the U.S. mainland."

The United States is concerned these remarks may come true.

Japan, which is already within the range of North Korea's Rodong intermediate-range ballistic missile, must strengthen its alliance with the United States and enhance its deterrence against North Korea. To achieve this it is crucial that Japan be able to exercise its right to collective self-defense regarding its missile defense system.


J-Alert worked smoothly

Wednesday's missile launch was regarded as a surprise, as the international community was under the impression that North Korea had decided to delay the launch. This highlights the limits of intelligence analysis on North Korea's activities.

Nevertheless, the Japanese government was able to disseminate information about the launch to local governments in Okinawa Prefecture through the J-Alert early warning system six minutes after the launch.

The government's success in conveying information this time around shows it has learned from lessons of the past and improved its system for confirming, conveying and announcing such important information.
In 2009, the government issued a false alarm before North Korea actually fired a missile, and in April this year, the government's announcement of the missile launch was significantly delayed.

The Self-Defense Forces deployed three Aegis-equipped destroyers with interceptor missiles to the East China Sea as well as units equipped with PAC-3 missiles to Ishigakijima island in Okinawa Prefecture and other areas to prepare for the missile's fall.

The deployment was completed in a much shorter time than for the previous two launches.

What is the key to success in national security and crisis management? It is to meticulously draw up contingency plans; conduct thorough training; and incorporate lessons learned to make the plans more rigorous.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 13, 2012)
(2012年12月13日01時53分  読売新聞)

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