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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 September 20 - 26  > Abe at UNGA denies importance of diplomatic efforts in solving N. Korea problem
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2017 September 20 - 26 [POLITICS]

Abe at UNGA denies importance of diplomatic efforts in solving N. Korea problem

September 22, 2017
“What is needed to do that is not dialogue, but pressure,” Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said in his address to the UN General Assembly held in New York City on September 20 (local time), disregarding the global efforts to find a solution of the issue through peaceful measures.

Abe used a large part of his address to insist that imposing greater pressures on North Korea is essential to halt its nuclear and missile development programs. He decried the call for a solution through dialogue by saying, “For North Korea, dialogue was instead the best means of deceiving us and buying time.”

In an attempt to defend his assertion, Abe claimed that North Korea has carried out nuclear and missile development in defiance of the 1994 U.S.-North Korea “Agreed Framework” and the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party talks.

It is true that North Korea repeatedly scorned the international community and that it deserves stronger economic sanctions and other types of pressure. However, it is wrong to think that pursuing dialogue and putting pressure are mutually exclusive strategies.

The UN Security Council Resolution 2375, which was unanimously adopted on September 11 following North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, imposes a tighter trade restriction on oil and natural gas exports to the country. At the same time, the resolution supports the Joint Statement of the Six-Party talks which sought diplomatic efforts to make the Korean Peninsula nuclear-free. The UNSC resolution calls for “a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue”.

Abe said that he “appreciates” the unanimous adoption of the resolution which places sanctions on North Korea. He should be reminded that the resolution also underscores the need for dialogue.

Dialogue with North Korea is vital not only to make progress toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula but also to avoid escalating the current crisis. North Korea is boasting that it has a capability of attacking the U.S. mainland and Guam. In response, the U.S. is showing its intent to promote military buildup. These moves have increased the risk of the triggering of armed conflict.

PM Abe neglected to mention the ongoing crisis and expressed his full hearted support for the U.S. stance of repeating that “all options are on the table”. Abe appears to naively believe that the threat of force might solve the North Korea problem.

Once a military conflict erupts between the U.S. and North Korea, it would result in catastrophic consequences with heavy casualties in Japan and other northeastern Asian countries. The Japanese government, which has the responsibility to protect people’s lives and livelihoods, should play a role in stepping up diplomatic efforts to realize a Washington-Pyongyang dialogue in order to prevent a military confrontation.
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