Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Japan, South Korea, US Discuss North Korea’s ‘Highly Alarming’ Missile Tests – Japanese Foreign Ministry

Representatives of Japan, South Korea and the United States have held a telephone conversation to compare positions on recent Pyongyang’s missile launches, reiterating their intention to continue cooperating to resolve various issues in the region, the Japanese foreign ministry reported on Monday.

Parties to the conversation included Japan’s Director-General Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Takehiro Funakoshi, the US special representative for North Korea, Sung Kim, and South Korean Foreign Ministry Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk.

“In the telephone talks, the parties exchanged views on the latest North Korean situation, including the January 17 missile test, as well as North Korea’s missile and nuclear program. The sides share grave concern,” the statement said.

Furthermore, the diplomats reaffirmed their intention to pursue cooperation to “bring about the complete denuclearization of North Korea in accordance with the provisions of the UN Security Council resolutions.”

Earlier in the day, at 08:54 local time (23:54 GMT) Japanese Coast Guard issued a warning about a possible ballistic missile launch by North Korea. Less than 10 minutes later, it was reported that the projectile fired presumably by North Korea had already landed.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff later said that North Korea had launched two short-range ballistic missiles at the Pyongyang Sunan International Airport area. According to the South Korean Yonhap News Agency, the missiles flew less than 400 kilometers (248 miles).

Due to resemblance to the January 14 railroad missile launch, the agency speculated that North Korea tested a similar missile launcher, while the South Korean military contended that further information and analysis are required.

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Earlier, South Korea held an emergency meeting of the National Security Council on Monday, expressing regret over North Korea’s launch of two suspected short-range ballistic missiles while stressing the need to resume dialogue with Pyongyang as soon as possible, the president’s office said.

“[The permanent members of the council] discussed the background and impact of the unfortunate situation with North Korea launching missiles four consecutive times this year,” the president’s office said.

The meeting was chaired by Suh Hoon, director of the South Korean Presidential Office of National Security, attended by You Young-min, Chief Presidential Secretary, Park Jie-won, Director of the National Intelligence Service, Defense Minister Suh Wook and Unification Minister Lee In-young.

Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff In-Choul Won reported to the council on North Korea’s launch of “unidentified short-range projectiles, presumably ballistic missiles.” The council examined the security situation and discussed retaliatory measures. It was agreed to continue analyzing the information in collaboration with the United States.

The security council stressed that to stabilize the situation on the Korean Peninsula, it is crucial “to resume dialogue shortly” and agreed to “redouble efforts” in this regard.

File:North Korea's ballistic missile - North Korea Victory Day-2013 01.jpg  - Wikimedia Commons
File Image: File:North Korean Ballistic Missile

The Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin had earlier stated that sanctions against North Korea will not contribute to the resolution of problems on the Korean Peninsula, calling on all sides concerned to exercise restraint.

Earlier, the US permanent representative to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said on Twitter that the United States was proposing new UN sanctions against North Korea as it has conducted six ballistic missile launches since September 2021. On Thursday, an American diplomat told Sputnik that the US proposed imposing UN sanctions on five people for ties to North Korea, who were previously included on the sanctions list of the US Treasury Department.

“China has always been opposed to any country’s application of unilateral sanctions and so-called exterritorial jurisdiction on other countries based on domestic law,” Wang said in a briefing.

The diplomat added that a new package of sanctions “does not help resolve the Korean Peninsula issue.”

China expects all sides to “act and speak with prudence” and to adhere to dialogue and consultations, the diplomat said, adding that additional joint efforts toward stabilizing the Korean situation are required.

Prior to recent missile tests, North Korea had test-launched a rocket, which it said was a hypersonic missile, and which flew 620 miles at an altitude of about 37 miles. This was the country’s second missile launch since the start of the year, with the first one having taken place on January 5.

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