北ミサイル発射 国際社会で孤立深める軽挙だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
North Korea’s missile launch a rash act that increases its isolation
北ミサイル発射 国際社会で孤立深める軽挙だ

North Korea apparently wants to flaunt the enhancement of its nuclear capability, but in reality, the country is just intensifying its international isolation.

Pyongyang launched a missile believed to be a Nodong medium-range ballistic missile from around Sukchon in the western part of the country. It flew a distance of about 800 kilometers and fell into the Sea of Japan.

According to the South Korean military, North Korea fired another missile, but it immediately disappeared from radar. It is possible that it exploded in the air.

In response to North Korea’s nuclear testing and other incidents, the U.N. Security Council early this month adopted a resolution anew that bans the country from firing ballistic missiles.

Following the launch of short-range ballistic missiles a week ago, North Korea’s latest action clearly violates the resolution.

It was reasonable that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned North Korea and said Japan would respond decisively while working closely with the international community.

North Korea is reacting more and more furiously against the Security Council’s resolution and U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises that started this month.

According to the Korean Central News Agency, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared that he will soon conduct a test explosion of a nuclear warhead and test-fire several types of ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear warheads.

He also claimed that his country has succeeded in reducing the weight of nuclear warheads, and even suggested the country would become able to make a “preemptive nuclear attack” to counter the United States.

Security concern for Japan

Kim apparently wants to strengthen his leadership in the run-up to the Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea, which is to be convened in May. However, many observers doubt that North Korea has advanced its miniaturization of nuclear warheads enough to load them on missiles.

“If the latest missile launch leads to enhancement of North Korea’s ballistic missile capabilities, it will be a source of strong national security concern for Japan,” said Defense Minister Gen Nakatani.

Pyongyang is said to have already deployed many Nodong missiles that could reach Japan. Because the missiles use mobile launchers, it is difficult to detect advance signs of launches. It remains necessary to keep an eye on North Korea’s attempts to improve the accuracy of its missiles by repeatedly conducting test-firings.

Also, preparations must be made to deal with further military provocations North Korea might engage in to heighten tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The international community must not overlook the reckless attitude of Kim, who does not try to hide his ambition to possess nuclear-armed missiles.

First, sanctions resolutions adopted by the U.N. Security Council should be strictly implemented. It is essential to enhance an international coalition that is working to shut down the flow of funds and materials necessary for development of nuclear missiles to North Korea.

The tripartite security partnership of Japan, the United States and South Korea has become even more important for inhibiting North Korea’s reckless actions without being intimidated by its threats.

Japan, the United States and South Korea are trying to organize summit talks of their leaders on the sidelines of a Nuclear Security Summit to be held in the United States late this month. We hope concrete measures that would improve the efficacy of sanctions will be discussed while obtaining China’s cooperation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 19, 2016)

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