US, South Korea, Japan consolidate efforts against DPRK nuclear tests

Unlawful development of weapons along with Pyongyang’s malicious cyber programs are global concern, envoy says.
By Ismira Lutfia Tisnadibrata for BenarNews
2022.12.13
Jakarta
US, South Korea, Japan consolidate efforts against DPRK nuclear tests People gather at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, to watch a news report about a North Korean missile launch, Nov. 19, 2022.
Associated Press

Envoys of the United States, South Korea and Japan agreed Tuesday to consolidate efforts to ensure that North Korea does not dodge U.N. and other international sanctions as it pursues a nuclear and missile program, the officials said. 

Senior diplomats from the three allied nations met in Jakarta in the wake of missile launches by North Korean this year, including the firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that came down in Japanese waters a few weeks ago. 

At their fifth trilateral meeting on Tuesday, the Japanese envoy said the three countries would also be more vigilant against North Korea’s cyber threats given its intensified malicious activities in cyberspace. 

“Pyongyang’s behavior this year has proven yet again that the DPRK represents one of the most serious security challenges in the region and beyond,” said Sung Kim, the U.S. special representative for North Korea Policy, using an acronym for North Korea’s proper name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. 

Sung Kim, who also serves as American ambassador to Indonesia, hosted his South Korean and Japanese counterparts at the embassy in Jakarta. 

Their meeting followed a summit of the U.S. South Korean and Japanese leaders on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit and other international meetings in Phnom Penh in November. 

Sung Kim said the threat from North Korea was not only a concern for East Asia or the United States, but a global issue because of Pyongyang’s ongoing unlawful development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, its malicious cyber programs and its violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions. 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has overlooked his people’s hardships and wasted scarce resources to advance the nation’s nuclear weapons program, said Kim Gunn, South Korea’s special representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs. 

“Pyongyang’s pursuit of nuclear weapons achieved nothing. It has only undermined its own security, prolonged diplomatic isolation and ruined its economy. It is truly regrettable,” the South Korean envoy said, adding that the international community would “not in a million years” drop its decades-long goal of North Korea’s denuclearization. 

He also said he hoped China would continue to have a constructive role in pushing North Korea to downgrade its nuclear weapons program.

Meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali last month, U.S. President Joe Biden said he told Chinese President Xi Jinping that Beijing had an obligation to tell North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons testing.

'More vigilant'

During Tuesday’s meeting, Japanese envoy Funakoshi Takehiro said his nation would deepen cooperation at the United Nations and among like-minded countries, while raising concerns about the increased use of vetoes this year against draft U.N. Security Council resolutions related to North Korea.

“In this regard, we will be more vigilant against North Korea’s cyber threats, given its intensified malicious activities in cyberspace,” said Funakoshi, who serves as director general for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau at the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Earlier this year, China and Russia vetoed a strongly backed U.S. resolution that would have imposed tough new sanctions on North Korea, causing the U.N. Security Council effort to fail, according to media reports.

North Korea has faced nearly a dozen U.N. sanctions imposed over its nuclear and missile tests since 2006.

Japan will examine all options including potential counter strikes, in the wake of North Korea’s escalated missile launches this year, which Funakoshi described as unprecedented.

North Korea’s provocations included the firing of an ICBM that landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone on Nov. 18. Japanese officials said its range could exceed 15,000 km (9,300 miles), which would cover the entire U.S. mainland.

Three days later, the U.N. Security Council failed to take unified action over the latest test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile by North Korea.

Despite the threat, Japan said it remains open to dialogue with North Korea.

“Our commitment to the denuclearization will remain unwavering. North Korea will never be recognized as a nuclear state,” Funakoshi said.

BenarNews is an RFA-affiliated news service.

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