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North Korea Missile Shot Reverberates At Brussels And Prague …

  • April 6th, 2009
  • Posted by EUEditor

nato-chiefs-handover-09.jpgA shot that rang out around the world; the test-firing of a ballistic missile by North Korea (5.4.09) was unpopular around the world, received badly by NATO and by President Obama, in Prague.

The North Korean government said they were trying to launch a communications satellite; government leaders in Japan and elsewhere were having none of that.

They said the rocket flew too close over the Japanese islands, it failed to put anything into orbit, and was really a test for a vehicle that could deliver nuclear warheads to the Western United States.

In Europe, the North Atlantic Alliance, (these days operating further afield than its home territory, pursuing terrorist targets in Afghanistan), had just nominated a new Secretary General.

The former Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, was named for the job at the weekend NATO summit; but he does not take office until August, so it was left to the serving S-G, Jap de Hoop Scheffer, to pronounce on security threats posed by the North Korean test.

“This launch is highly provocative, and in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1718 barring North Korea from developing ballistic missile capability or launching ballistic missiles,” he said.

“This launch will only deepen concern about North Korea in the region and beyond.”

He concurred with concerns being expressed for stability in the East Asia region, and for progress with the six-party talks involving North Korea and its neighbours, concentrated on nuclear proliferation issues.

President Barak Obama said the United States also viewed the North Korean missile firing as “provocative”.

He was at Prague, coincidentally delivering an address that pledged America to renew international efforts to reduce stockpiles of nuclear weapons.

A new era of arms reductions contacts – especially if East Asia becomes relevant — might give added relevance to the joint Australian-Japanese initiative, the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament

Gareth Evans, the Australian former President of the Brussels-based International Crisis group, is co-chair of the Commission, with Yoriko Kawaguchi of Japan– both previous Foreign Ministers of their home countries.

Picture:

De Hoop Scheffer, looking left; Rasmussen on his right, NATO pic

Reference:

International Commission on  Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, home.
http://www.icnnd.org/, (6.4.09)

NATO, Statement on North Korea by the NATO Secretary General, 5.4.09;NATO Allies select new Secretary General, 4.9.09. http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/index.htm, (6.4.09)

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