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Japan, others slam N. Korean nukes, missiles during U.N. debate

Japan, the United States and South Korea were among countries who used a U.N. forum to criticize North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launches after the 15 Security Council members earlier failed to issue a unanimous condemnation.

“These blatant violations of Security Council resolutions pose clear challenges to the global nonproliferation regime and cannot be condoned for any reason,” Japan’s Parliamentary Vice Foreign Minister Kiyoshi Odawara said during a daylong ministerial-level debate on the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

In addition to calling on the North to refrain from carrying out launches or nuclear tests, Odawara urged the international community to strictly implement sanctions imposed on Pyongyang in March.

The sanctions were unanimously adopted after North Korea’s fourth and latest nuclear test in January as well as ensuing ballistic missile launches, all of which violate past council resolutions.

“These efforts are crucial, and their significance and impact cannot be underestimated,” he added, noting the importance of coordinating with the United Nations’ North Korea sanctions committee.

Meanwhile, U.S. Deputy Ambassador Michele Sison pointed to concerns about a recent media report that Pyongyang is reprocessing nuclear fuel into plutonium to produce highly enriched uranium for its nuclear weapons program.

Additionally, she pointed out how the isolated country had carried out the only nuclear tests this century through actions that “are without question a threat to international peace and security,” joining other countries in expressing alarm about the recent trend.

South Korea’s Ambassador Oh Joon also highlighted his concerns by saying that the North’s continued violations “call into question its qualifications as a U.N. member state.” He also urged countries to “take united action” to ensure that Pyongyang complies with its obligations.

Britain and France also echoed Odawara’s concerns about North Korea’s recent actions, especially given that the ballistic missile launched on Aug. 3 fell in the waters of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

China presented another view by calling on all parties to continually press for diplomatic solutions and avoid “any action that is provocative to each other and may escalate tensions.”

“Nonproliferation cannot be used as a pretext to beef up military deployments, step up military presence and scale up military exercises,” Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi said, apparently referring to the controversial U.S. antimissile system that Seoul and Washington agreed last month to install in South Korea.

Called the Terminal High Altitude Defense system, or THAAD, it is designed to intercept ballistic missiles flying at high altitudes.

North Korea on Tuesday requested that the U.S.-South Korean joint exercises, which began earlier this week, be placed on the agenda for discussion at the Security Council. North Korea’s Ambassador Ja Song Nam has previously made this request. It has not been taken up.

The North Korean envoy claimed the drills were an “unpardonable criminal act”, which along with the THAAD, are pushing the situation on the Korean Peninsula to “the brink of war.”

The meeting, chaired by Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Admad Zahid Hamidi, was to address the challenges of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery and related materials.

==Kyodo

Article source: http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2016/08/430078.html