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Mon, Jul 10, 2006

Japan Pushes For Immediate Vote On NK Resolution

"We Have To Learn From The Past"

As troubling as North Korea's recent military posturing has been for the United States, no one is feeling locked in the crosshairs of Kim Jong Il quite as much as people in Japan -- which is separated from the communist regime by only the narrow Sea of Japan (and, arguably, at least 50 years of progressive thinking.)

As Aero-News has reported, it is with that in mind that Japanese leaders have been the most vocal critics of North Korea's recent missile testing... and they have drafted a UN resolution calling for harsh sanctions against the stalwart Stalinist regime.

"To compromise because of one country which has veto power, even though most other countries support us, sends the wrong message," Foreign Minister Taro Aso told national broadcaster NHK Sunday. "We can't alter our stance."

Japan is also pushing for an immediate vote on the resolution -- over objections from North Korean allies China and Russia -- which could come as soon as Monday. Japanese officials hope Russia will abstain from voting on the measure -- which, in turn, would weaken China's support for North Korea.

"China will be backed into a corner," Aso said. "It's only common sense not to do that."

Japan, of course, is not necessarily being paranoid over the chances a North Korean missile could strike the country -- whether it was intended to or not. A previous North Korean missile test in 1998 flew off course -- and right over Japan.

"We have to learn from the past," Aso said.

In related news, US military officials believe another test of the Taepodong 2 long-range ICBM isn't likely in the near future, as Wednesday's launch attempt -- which ended in an explosion approximately 40 seconds after liftoff -- may have damaged the launch site.

On Saturday, the new US guided missile destroyer USS Mustin docked in Japan, in what the US called a "routine visit" that had been planned months ago. Well, perhaps so... but you can't argue with the timing.

Another missile destroyer, the USS Shiloh, is expected to arrive in Japan in August.

FMI: www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/dprk/index.html

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