Asia-Pacific Leaders Warn North Korea Against Test Missile Launch


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Asia-Pacific Leaders Warn North Korea Against Test Missile Launch
By Kurt Achin
19 June 2006

World leaders are stating in no uncertain terms Pyongyang will only worsen its 
international standing if it goes through with a missile test experts say may be
imminent. Japan, the United States, and Australia are among the chorus warning 
North Korea of negative consequences if the test goes through.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi speaks to reporters in Tokyo Monday, 
June 19, 2006

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's language was direct and blunt 
Monday, as he sought to deter North Korea from conducting a long-range missile 

Mr. Koizumi says if North Korea fires its missile, Japan's response is certain 
to be stern and harsh. He says Tokyo will immediately enter into consultations 
with the United States on a possible response.

For nearly a week, international media have reported intelligence officials as 
saying evidence is mounting Pyongyang intends to test a Taepodong-2 missile. 
These long-range rockets are believed to be capable of reaching Alaska, Hawaii, 
or even the west coast of the United States.

If the test goes ahead it will be the end of the moratorium North Korea imposed 
on long-range missile testing in 1999, after it shocked Japan by firing a 
missile over its main island the previous year.

The White House says a launch would require some kind of response from the 
United States. Senior Japanese officials say a missile test would lead to them 
to request an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, possibly
to seek punitive measures against Pyongyang. Tokyo says it already has the legal
framework in place to impose its own domestic sanctions against the North. 
Pyongyang has warned it would perceive sanctions as an act of war.

Australia summoned North Korea's ambassador to Canberra Monday to warn against 
conducting the test. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says firing a 
missile would be highly provocative and only serve to further isolate Pyongyang.

Here in South Korea, the chairman of President Roh Moo-hyun's Uri political 
party made a direct appeal to North Korea to forego launching its missile.

Kim says a missile test would be a disaster for all and he urges Pyongyang to 
return to international talks on ending its nuclear weapons production and 
explain clearly what it wants from the international community.

North Korea promised last September in principle to end its nuclear weapons 
production, but has since refused to return to talks with China, Japan, Russia, 
South Korea and the United States aimed at implementing that pledge.

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