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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Nakasone unbending on launch


Staff writer

Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone continued Tuesday to push for a forceful response to North Korea's launch of what it purports was a satellite, though the likelihood of a fresh U.N. resolution condemning the action is fading in the face of opposition from China and Russia.

"The U.N. Security Council needs to send a strong message," Nakasone said during a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, but he added that the outcome of the ongoing talks is still undetermined.

The UNSC members must demonstrate that there are "consequences for such provocative actions," Nakasone insisted.

Brushing aside Japanese and U.S. protests that a rocket launch would violate U.N. resolutions banning it from ballistic missile activities, North Korea went ahead with the launch from Musudan-ri on Sunday, after which Nakasone contacted his counterparts on the U.N. Security Council to express Tokyo's condemnation.

Nakasone told reporters earlier Tuesday that the launch threatened Japan more than any other country and expressed determination to condemn North Korea with a U.N. resolution.

"It is important that swift progress is made," he said, stressing that inaction by the UNSC would call into question the body's credibility.

However, Russia and China have indicated they are unwilling to go as far as adopting a resolution, favoring instead a less-binding statement that views the launch as an attempt to put a satellite into orbit.

Nakasone countered that Pyongyang will have the right to space development only when it is not deemed a threat to its neighboring countries and insisted that even sending up a satellite violates U.N. resolutions.

He acknowledged that Japan may send a high-ranking government official to the U.N. depending on developments at the UNSC meeting.



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The Japan Times

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