"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
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.