対「北」独自制裁 厳格な安保理決議の先駆けに

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan should lead push for tough UNSC resolution on North Korea
対「北」独自制裁 厳格な安保理決議の先駆けに

It is important not to ignore the reckless actions repeatedly taken by North Korea and to swiftly implement tough sanctions against that country. Japan should play a leading role in a concerted effort by the international community.

The government held a meeting of the National Security Council on Wednesday, attended by its four ministers, and decided to revive and strengthen its unilateral sanctions against North Korea.

Nuclear tests and the launch of long-range ballistic missiles by North Korea pose direct threats to Japan. It is a matter of course for Japan to have promptly taken harsh measures.

These measures include a ban on the reentry of senior officials of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon) who have returned home to North Korea, and a ban on entry into Japanese ports by all vessels of North Korean registry, including those on humanitarian missions. All these measures were lifted when Pyongyang began in July 2014 its reinvestigation of Japanese nationals abducted to North Korea or suspected to have been abducted.

Added to the reentry ban are engineers related to nuclear and missile technologies. The government has also gone so far as to ban, in principle, remittances to North Korea.

North Korea has postponed presenting to Japan the results of its reinvestigation into Japanese citizens abducted to that country or suspected to have been abducted. As long as Pyongyang continues making such insincere responses, it is reasonable for Japan to decide to revive and strengthen unilateral sanctions on North Korea, in line with the principle of “action for action.”

Don’t close doors

Actions taken by the North Korean regime under Kim Jong Un have become ever more uncertain.

The Foreign Ministry, the National Police Agency and other government organizations must cooperate closely to ensure the effectiveness of the sanctions. At the same time, the government needs to respond flexibly to North Korea, by not cutting off openings for dialogue, for instance.

The government must adhere to its policy of comprehensively resolving the issues of the Japanese abductees and North Korea’s nuclear and missile development, and deal with them tenaciously.

Needless to say, Japan’s unilateral sanctions alone will only have a limited effect. It is necessary to hasten the establishment of an international coalition network committed to containing North Korea.

South Korea announced Wednesday that it would suspend operations at the joint industrial complex in Kaesong, North Korea, as a unilateral sanction. The move is aimed at reducing the foreign currency earned by Pyongyang, but suspending operations could risk losing a channel for dialogue with North Korea.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held separate phone talks with U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye. They agreed to cooperate toward the early adoption of a resolution by the U.N. Security Council.

The biggest stumbling block for the UNSC resolution is China’s reluctant posture.

China has been asserting that sanctions on North Korea should be limited to measures related to its nuclear and missile developments, and opposes sanctions that would affect the lives of the public.

Yet this conciliatory stance taken for many years by China has bolstered North Korea, letting Pyongyang conduct nuclear tests and missile launches repeatedly. This time, it is vital to strengthen real pressure on North Korea.

It is important for Japan, the United States and South Korea to unite to urge China to modify its stance.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 11, 2016)

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