Tokyo – North Korea’s missile tests are an “imminent threat” to Japan, the Japanese parliament declared on Monday, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said talking to the reclusive state was meaningless.
The upper house unanimously adopted a resolution protesting against the North’s firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile that dropped into the sea inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone last week.
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The launch showed Pyongyang was determined to continue its nuclear and missile programmes and constituted “an unprecedented, significant and imminent threat against the safety of the region, including Japan”.
“This is a frontal challenge against the international community that must not be tolerated,” added the resolution.
‘All out provocation’
Tensions on the Korean peninsula are high after last Wednesday’s missile launch. On Monday the US and South Korea began their largest-ever joint air exercise, described by Pyongyang as an “all-out provocation”.
Abe vowed to put pressure on North Korea until it changes its ways and gives up its missile and nuclear technology in a “verifiable” and “irreversible” fashion.
“In order to press North Korea into changing its policies, we shall take a resolute attitude in our diplomacy,” he told the upper house.
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“Dialogue for the sake of dialogue is meaningless,” Abe said.
Global anxiety about North Korea has steadily risen this year, and Washington last week called on other UN members to cut ties with it in order to squeeze the secretive regime.
The call, however, has fallen short of persuading key North Korean backers – China and Russia – to take steps to isolate the regime.