In yet another unconscionable outrage that could have endangered the lives and safety of people in a neighboring nation, North Korea on Oct. 4 launched a ballistic missile that flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean.

The blare of the "J-Alert" missile alarm shook residents out of their peaceful morning routines, causing panic and confusion.

The missile is believed to have flown over an area near Aomori Prefecture before falling outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone in the Pacific.

Its estimated range was 4,600 kilometers. The missile reached its maximum altitude of around 1,000 km, according to the Japanese government.

Fortunately, there were no reports of fallen debris or damage to ships and aircraft. But in the absence of a prior warning from Pyongyang, the outcome could have been catastrophic in a worst-case scenario.

Seoul, Washington and Tokyo have been collaborating closely since the inauguration of South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who values strong ties with the United States, to keep Pyongyang in check.

It seems likely that the latest missile test was a politically motivated reaction to recent U.S.-South Korea and U.S.-South Korea-Japan joint military exercises. This is because the missile’s range covered Guam, where the United States has a military base.

Pyongyang has launched a flurry of missiles since last month. Even though all were short-range projectiles, they included the trajectory-shifting type that renders tracking and interception difficult. It appears that North Korea is also gearing up to conduct more nuclear tests.

The latest incident is a chilling reminder of the first time North Korea lobbed a missile over Japan five years ago. On that occasion, Pyongyang preceded it with repeated missile launches, and conducted a sixth nuclear test around the same time.

We cannot condone a repeat of that sort of escalation. Pyongyang’s ballistic missile launches, as well as its nuclear tests, are in clear violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution. Steps must be taken to stop this. 

One cause for concern is the possibility that divisions in the international community over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will enable North Korea to accelerate development of its nuclear and missile capabilities.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has repeatedly stated his intention to proceed with arms development as a long-term policy. And in a speech he gave in September, Kim declared in no uncertain terms that he would never abandon his nuclear program.

Kim probably surmised that even if he resorted to drastic action, Russia and China, which are locked in a growing confrontation with the West, would oppose any additional sanctions against North Korea.

To foil his scenario and prepare for unforeseen circumstances, it is vital that Japan, South Korea and the United States remain firmly united in their security-related collaboration.

The three countries have different strengths in collecting information concerning Pyongyang’s missile launches. We strongly hope they will share their information extensively and strive to refine measures to protect the lives and safety of civilians.

In the meantime, we must not forget that hardline measures such as sanctions and bolstering joint military drills have never resulted in forcing North Korea to mend its ways.

In Japan and South Korea, there have been simplistic calls for enemy base strike capabilities to deal with Pyongyang’s provocations. But we must stop and think very carefully.

Efforts must be made to convince Russia and China that Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile threats could lead to catastrophic consequences and do not benefit their national interests. Also vital are wise carrot-and-stick policies to encourage Pyongyang to resume dialogue with the rest of the world.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 5

QOSHE - EDITORIAL: North Korea’s missile madness cannot continue to go unchecked - The Asahi Shimbun
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EDITORIAL: North Korea’s missile madness cannot continue to go unchecked

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05.10.2022

In yet another unconscionable outrage that could have endangered the lives and safety of people in a neighboring nation, North Korea on Oct. 4 launched a ballistic missile that flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean.

The blare of the "J-Alert" missile alarm shook residents out of their peaceful morning routines, causing panic and confusion.

The missile is believed to have flown over an area near Aomori Prefecture before falling outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone in the Pacific.

Its estimated range was 4,600 kilometers. The missile reached its maximum altitude of around 1,000 km, according to the Japanese government.

Fortunately, there were no reports of fallen debris or damage to ships and aircraft. But in the absence of a prior warning from Pyongyang, the outcome could have been catastrophic in a worst-case scenario.

Seoul, Washington and Tokyo have been collaborating closely since the inauguration of South Korean........

© The Asahi Shimbun


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