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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Aso portrays DPJ as national security threat


Staff writer

Prime Minister Taro Aso said Tuesday the Democratic Party of Japan's foreign policy of the poses a serious threat to the nation's security and prosperity.

With his support rate nose-diving and speculation mounting that a snap election will be called within weeks, Aso took direct aim at the main opposition party during a 30-minute speech on foreign relations.

"The purpose of diplomacy is to protect the security and prosperity of the nation and its people," Aso said during an event in Tokyo organized by the Japan Institute for International Affairs.

While listing the dispatch of the Maritime Self-Defense Force on an antipiracy mission off Somalia and the extension of the MSDF's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean as two of his accomplishments, Aso said the DPJ "objected to or opposed such critical decisions."

"The international community will not accept such behavior," Aso said, questioning the opposition's ability to handle global issues.

On North Korea's nuclear program, Aso reiterated that efforts to stop Pyongyang and implement sanctions stipulated in the recent U.N. Security Council resolution "must be carried out steadily."

He said Tokyo is ready to cooperate with the other nations involved in the stalled six-party talks to achieve the Korean Peninsula's denuclearization.

"We must demonstrate that further acts of defiance do not aid (North Korea) at all," Aso said.

Free Suu Kyi: Ban

Compiled from AP, Kyodo

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon called Tuesday on Myanmar's military-run government to free all of its political prisoners, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The U.N. chief, who arrived in Tokyo earlier in the day for a three-day visit, will travel to Myanmar on Friday in a diplomatic bid to win the release of the 64-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who has spent more than 13 of the past 19 years in detention without trial.

He met with Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone and they agreed that Pyongyang's possession of nuclear arms is unacceptable and it is necessary for U.N. member states to implement the U.N. Security Council resolution to punish North Korea for its May nuclear test.



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