North Korea is upping the ante via missile tests over Japan: China, Russia, and South Korea

North Korea is upping the ante via missile tests over Japan: China, Russia, and South Korea

Sawako Uchida and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Northern Japan is now a growing part of North Korea’s missile tests and this reality, while nothing new in spits and spats, is now reaching a new scale under the current leader of this nation. Hence, while militant rhetoric from North Korea is part of the course – and the odd missile test threatening Northern Japan or in the vicinity of this nation – the current situation is different based on the speed of events. Therefore, Japan needs to reach out to China and the Russian Federation in order to focus on “genuine talks” between all vested parties.

It is known that President Moon Jae-in of South Korea is focused on reaching a solution if possible. This is a vital stabilizing factor because with North Korea being extremely bellicose – and statements by President Donald Trump of America threatening that nothing is off the table – then at least Moon seeks to reduce tensions. In other words, the nations of China, the Russian Federation, and South Korea can counter extreme rhetoric and actions by North Korea. At the same time, these collective nations can dampen militant voices in Washington that are becoming disillusioned by the behavior of North Korea.

Last month, Moon said, ““No one should be allowed to decide on a military action on the Korean Peninsula without South Korean agreement.”

He continued, “Our government will do everything it can to prevent war from breaking out.”

Of course, for China, the issue surrounding the THAAD missile system is problematic because political elites in Beijing are disillusioned by South Korea tolerating the geopolitical ambitions of America, without considering the concerns of China. Yet, with China knowing that Moon is equally lukewarm towards America’s action in relation to THAAD, then the door between China and South Korea is firmly open.

The latest missile test by North Korea that flew over Hokkaido is a firm reminder to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan to reach out to China and the Russian Federation. After all, the angle of America to the geopolitical concerns of Japan – and the reciprocity of Japan to America – is too one-dimensional. Therefore, with the political sway of China and the Russian Federation being of more importance to North Korea it is essential that this angle becomes expanded by Japan.

Reuters reports, “North Korea launched an unidentified missile over Hokkaido that flew about 3,700 kilometers before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean on Friday — the second such launch in less than a month.”

Yoshihide Suga, the Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, said, “These repeated provocations on the part of North Korea are impermissible and we protest in the strongest words.”

However, it remains to be seen how Japan is supporting the proposed “double freeze” that is being proposed by China and the Russian Federation. Modern Tokyo Times earlier stated, This double freeze relates to a plan formulated by China and the Russian Federation, whereby related players would abide by conditions that would reduce military tensions. In other words, political and military elites in Pyongyang would abide by putting a freeze on its missile tests – while the governments of America and South Korea would relent on major military exercises by imposing a genuine moratorium.”

It appears that China and the Russian Federation are both supporting reasonable objectives that can be met by all sides. Therefore, the Cabinet of Abe must equally consider the more moderate stance being taken by South Korea under Moon – while acknowledging the approach being taken by China and the Russian Federation.

Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group

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