The international community is deepening its concern about an alleged North Korean move to prepare for a launch of the "Taepodong II" ballistic missile since it may constitute a threat to peace and stability in Northeast Asia. North Korea should stop its preparation for missile launching that it will only be harmful to international peace as well as its own safety.
North Korea's foreign ministry official claimed that launching missiles and rockets is a matter of sovereign right. However, launching missiles and rockets that go over other nation's territorial airspace and waters before reaching international waters poses a danger to the passage of civilian airplanes and ships. Therefore, the international rule requires a launching nation to give an advance notice to institutions and countries concerned. North Korea has not given such notice.
North Korea promised to freeze its plan to launch missiles in the U.S.-DPRK Joint Communique in 2000 and in the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration in 2002. It is even more unreasonable for North Korea to reverse such promises in the name of "sovereign right."
Using statements and press releases by its permanent mission to the United Nations, North Korea has called for a dialogue with the United States, in hopes to resolve the issue through negotiations if the U.S. is concerned about the missile testing. But the U.S. has refused to engage in a dialogue under the threat of a missile launching.
Regardless of the reason or background for North Korea to call for a direct dialogue with the U.S., its way of pursuing the objective by pushing ahead with the preparation for launching missiles amounts to a "brinkmanship" of trying to achieve its goal by using a military threat. It is a highly dangerous act that could lead to a military conflict. We strongly demand that North Korea immediately stop such actions.
South Korea, North Korea, Japan, U.S., China, and Russia have agreed to discuss missiles, nuclear weapons, and other security issues on the Korean Peninsula at the Six-Party Talks. What North Korea is required to do is to return to the Six-Party Talks instead of preparing to launch missiles.
We are concerned that North Korea's "brinkmanship" will bring about a vicious circle of military countermeasures in this region that will turn into a threat to the security of Northeast Asian countries.
Which way is North Korea heading? Is it taking a path to oppose peace and stability in Asia or the path to return to the Six-Party Talks and to create peace as well as mutual cooperation and prosperity in this region? It is self-evident that only one way is a truly constructive path for North Korea to pursue.
- Akahata, June 25, 2006