The Yomiuri Shimbun
It is essential to keep pressuring North Korea with sanctions until the country abandons the weapons of mass destruction it possesses, in addition to its suspension of nuclear tests and test-firing of ballistic missiles. It is of no small significance that this view has been shared.
The Group of Seven industrialized nations, including Japan, the United States and European countries, has held a meeting of their foreign ministers in Canada.
The joint statement issued by them stresses that they will never allow a nuclear-armed North Korea. They confirmed they will aim to push Pyongyang to dismantle all its weapons of mass destruction — including biological and chemical weapons — in a complete, verifiable and irreversible way.
Noting that North Korea must take concrete action toward denuclearization, the G-7 foreign ministers called on the international community to “maintain maximum pressure.”
The countries concerned must steadily implement the U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions on Pyongyang and monitor the illegal practice of ship-to-ship cargo transfers on the high seas.
In their joint statement, the G-7 nations acknowledged the North’s announced suspension of nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launch tests as “a first step toward full denuclearization.”
But the problem remains to be solved.
Pyongyang has not shown intent to abandon its nuclear and missile development programs. It is a modus operandi of the North to try to draw such quid pro quos as an easing of sanctions and economic assistance while assuming a stance of complying with phased denuclearization steps.
Don’t repeat past failures
The 1994 U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework and the agreement reached through six-nation talks in the 2000s resulted in a quid pro quo at the stage when the North froze its nuclear development program — thus failing to realize the abandonment of its nuclear ambition.
A U.S. high-ranking official had every reason to say that the step-by-step approaches taken in past negotiations all ended in failure, and that the mistake should never be repeated.
The pressure of sanctions should not be eased until after such developments as an inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the dismantling of nuclear arms and ballistic missiles, and the transporting of nuclear materials abroad are actually seen.
Foreign Minister Taro Kono brought up the issue of abductions by North Korea during the meeting, resulting in the joint statement including a call for a quick solution to the issue.
The North-South summit is to be held Friday. Arrangements are being made to hold a U.S.-North Korea summit by early June. South Korean President Moon Jae In and U.S. President Donald Trump are called on to proceed in line with the content of that joint statement during the talks with their North Korean counterpart.
Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo, a nominee for the next U.S. secretary of state, could not attend the G-7 foreign ministerial meeting because the Senate did not approve his appointment in time for the meeting. This is an unusual situation.
Recently, Pompeo made a secret visit to North Korea and met with Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Pompeo will most certainly represent the U.S. government in leading denuclearization negotiations with Pyongyang. He is called on to make preparations promptly after assuming the post of U.S. secretary of state.
(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 25, 2018)