NHK reported this morning that senior officials of the U.S., Japan, and South Korea in charge of North Korean issues met in Washington on Tuesday and exchanged views on the DPRK’s latest ballistic missile launch. According to the network, the meeting was attended by MOFA Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Director General Funakoshi, U.S. Special Representative for the DPRK Sung Kim, and Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk. According to a MOFA source, Funakoshi strongly condemned North Korea’s missile launch as a violation of the UNSC resolutions, and the U.S. and South Korean officials also expressed concern. In addition, the network said the three officials confirmed continued cooperation toward easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula and denuclearization, according to the State Department.
All national dailies also reported on the DPRK missile launch. According to Yomiuri, the GOJ is growing increasingly concerned about North Korea’s relentless pursuit of ballistic missile technology, speculating that Pyongyang is determined to continue staging provocations to maintain its negotiating leverage vis-à-vis the U.S. in denuclearization talks. The paper added, however, that Japanese defense officials are confident that Japan can deal with North Korea’s current SLBM capabilities since its diesel submarines cannot travel very far and can be readily detected and tracked because of the loud noise they generate.
In a related development, all national papers wrote that the GOJ convened a meeting of the National Security Council on Tuesday afternoon to respond to North Korea’s launch of what appeared to be two ballistic missiles, including one from a submarine. Prime Minister Kishida told the press afterward: “We confirmed again the necessity to look into every possible option [for national defense], including the possession of so-called capabilities to attack enemy bases.” He added that Japan must not overlook the considerable progress made on North Korea’s nuclear and missile technology from the standpoint of ensuring Japan’s and regional security.