Japan at UN urges N.Korea to refrain from provocations

Japan on Tuesday strongly urged North Korea to refrain from provocations following a string of missile launches and threats from Pyongyang of nuclear retaliation in response to US-South Korean military drills. Japanese senior official Kiyoshi Odawara told a UN Security Council debate on non-proliferation that North Korea's missiles launches, the most recent of which reached Japanese-controlled waters, were "blatant violations" of UN resolutions. "Japan strongly urges North Korea to refrain from further provocations and to comply faithfully and fully with the relevant Security Council resolutions," said Odawara, Japan's parliamentary vice-minister for foreign affairs. North Korea on Monday threatened a pre-emptive military strike as South Korea and the United States kicked off large-scale annual military exercises. Japan this month joined the United States in calling an emergency session of the council after North Korea fired an intermediate-range missile that landed off Japan's northern coast and within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). But the council failed to condemn that August 2 launch after China sought to include language in a statement opposing the THAAD missile defense system that the United States plans to deploy in South Korea. Odawara said North Korea's missile launches "cannot be condoned for any reason." China's Ambassador Liu Jieyi took a swipe at the United States and its allies when he stressed the need to "avoid any action that is provocative to each other and may escalate tensions" on the Korean peninsula. "Non-proliferation cannot be used as a pretext to beef up military deployment, step up military presence and scale up military exercises," said Liu. Japan called on all UN member-states to redouble their efforts to fully implement all resolutions including a measure adopted in March that imposed the toughest sanctions yet on North Korea. "These efforts are crucial and their significance and impact cannot be underestimated," said Odawara. North Korea has been hit by five sets of UN sanctions since it first tested a nuclear device in 2006.

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