Japan urges DPRK to change course, return to negotiating table after latest missile launch

2017-09-15 14:05Xinhua Editor: Gu Liping ECNS App Download

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday called on the international community to unite against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) "provocative acts" and urged the DPRK to change its current course of action.

"Now is the time when the international community is required to unite against North Korea's provocative acts, which threaten world peace," the Japanese leader told a press briefing at his office.

"We must make North Korea understand that if it continues down this road, it will not have a bright future," Abe said.

Abe's remarks came following the DPRK launching a ballistic missile that flew over northern Japan before falling into the Pacific early on Friday.

The government said the missile landed around 2,260 km east off the cape of Erimo in Hokkaido Prefecture in Japan's north, at around 7:16 a.m. local time (2216 GMT Thursday).

The launch came after the UN Security Council voted in favor of a resolution toughening sanctions on the DPRK following its sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3.

The tougher sanctions included restrictions against its trade in oil and petroleum products.

Abe on Friday called for a full implementation of the UN sanctions against the DPRK and said he will ask the UN Security Council to convene an emergency meeting to discuss matters further.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, meanwhile, said the launch was a challenge to the international community and that pressure would be put on the DPRK to encourage its return to the negotiating table.

"The latest missile launch is a strong challenge to the international community. We will put maximum pressure on North Korea and we want the country to come to the table for talks after showing a clear commitment to denuclearization," Kono said.

Regarding the latest launch, Japan has condemned the DPRK's "excessive provocation" in the strongest terms, Japan's top government spokesperson Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said earlier Friday, adding that Tokyo had lodged a strong protest with Pyongyang over the launch.

Suga said, however, that no damage had been reported as a result of the missile, which was launched at around 6:57 a.m. local time (2157 GMT Thursday) and passed over Hokkaido 9 minutes later.

Specifically, he said that no potentially dangerous debris had fallen from the missile and has confirmed that no aircraft or ships in the region have been hit or otherwise damaged as a result of the launch and the missile's flight over Japan and landing in the Pacific Ocean.

Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters the missile may have been the intermediate-range Hwasong-12 missile, which has the range to reach the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

He said in talks on the phone with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that they agreed that Tokyo and Washington will continue to put "visible" pressure on the DPRK.

Local media said the government's J-Alert emergency warning system was used in Hokkaido and 11 other prefectures that might have been along the missile's flight path.

The warning issued to residents to seek shelter in solid buildings was given for the same areas as the previous launch of a missile by the DPRK on Aug. 29.

Following the J-ALERT warning, the operations of Shinkansen bullet trains and some other local trains, including subway systems in the areas covered by the alert, were temporarily suspended for safety reasons.

The services have since resumed.

Abe is set to attend the UN General Assembly's general debate in New York next week, where he is expected to raise the issue of the DPRK's latest missile launch among other related matters.

Kono said Friday that he had agreed with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to begin preparations for three-way talks to be held with South Korea on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.


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