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Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2007

GENERAL ASSEMBLY SUPPORT 'OVERWHELMING'

Japan deserves permanent UNSC seat, Bolton says


Staff writer

Japan should be granted a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, as more than two-thirds of General Assembly states would support this despite expected opposition from China, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton said Tuesday.

"I think Japan still has overwhelming support in the General Assembly," said Bolton, an outspoken foreign-policy conservative and advocate of the U.S. invasion of Iraq who stepped down as ambassador in December amid accusations from liberals, and some conservatives, that his approach to foreign policy was heavy-handed.

But as someone with the ear of many conservatives in Washington, Bolton remains closely watched by analysts.

A guest of the government, Bolton arrived Saturday for a weeklong visit during which he is meeting with officials and the public to share his views on U.S. policy.

Speaking to students and others at the University of Tokyo, Bolton said Japan's strategy of allying with fellow UNSC aspirants Brazil, Germany and India -- collectively known as the Group of Four -- ultimately failed because each country met resistance from neighboring rivals.

"I think many of the other members of the G4 felt that if Japan became a permanent member and the U.N. went through this lengthy exercise of amending the charter, then there would never be another chance," he said. "I don't see why you can't amend the charter -- because Japan clearly qualifies as a permanent member -- and then take each subsequent case on an individual basis."

Bolton argued that as the second-largest contributor to U.N. finances after the U.S., and as a participant in peacekeeping operations around the world, Japan possesses more than enough clout to ask the General Assembly to vote for the charter revision needed to give it a permanent Security Council seat.

As one of five countries currently holding permanent seats, China -- which has misgivings about Japan having a permanent UNSC seat -- can veto Japan's bid, a fact Bolton readily acknowledged. That, however, should not be a deterrent, he added.

"(Japan) needs to put that case to China and see if China is really prepared to stand in the way," he said.

Separately, Bolton also hailed the appointment of South Korean diplomat Ban Ki Moon as the new U.N. secretary general and successor to Kofi Annan. "We find ourselves now in a situation where the United States has, we all have, a secretary general who is a former foreign minister of a treaty ally of the United States -- something that would have been unthinkable during the Cold War, to be sure, and that is really quite remarkable even in the circumstances that we face today," Bolton said.



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