Bei­jing urges calm af­ter DPRK launch

Midrange bal­lis­tic mis­sile lands in or near wa­ters con­trolled by Ja­pan

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By WANG XU wangxu@chi­ Zhang Yaozhong con­trib­uted to this story.

Bei­jing urged all par­ties con­cerned to avoid “pro­vok­ing each other” or rais­ing ten­sion in the re­gion af­ter Py­ongyang launched a bal­lis­tic mis­sile that landed in or near Ja­panese-con­trolled wa­ters on Wed­nes­day.

The Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Re­pub­lic of Korea fired a midrange Rodong mis­sile from the coun­try’s South Hwang­hae prov­ince at 7:50 am. The mis­sile flew 998 kilo­me­ters be­fore plung­ing into the sea, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased by the Re­pub­lic of Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The launch came a day af­ter ROK Pres­i­dent Park Geun-hye said her gov­ern­ment re­mained firm in its plan to de­ploy an ad­vanced US mis­sile de­fense sys­tem, de­spite op­po­si­tion from China, Rus­sia and the DPRK.

The New York Times quoted Ja­panese De­fense Min­is­ter Gen Nakatani as say­ing the mis­sile landed in wa­ters of Ja­pan’s ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone.

The For­eign Min­istry Spokes per­son’ s Of­fice, in a writ­ten re­ply to China Daily, said, “Un­der the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, all par­ties should avoid pro­vok­ing each other or in­creas­ing ten­sions in the re­gion.”

The ROK, Ja­pan and the US con­demned the mis­sile launch on Wed­nes­day, with Seoul say­ing it “strongly con­demns” the launch be­cause it “ex­plic­itly shows the North’s in­ten­tions of be­ing able to launch mis­sile at­tacks on South Korea and neigh­bor­ing coun­tries”.

Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe said the launch “poses a se­ri­ous threat to Ja­pan’s se­cu­rity and is an un­for­giv­able act of vi­o­lence to­ward Ja­pan’s se­cu­rity”.

The lat­est mis­sile launch by the DPRK, as well as its ear­lier test of a Scud-type short-range mis­sile and two midrange Rodong bal­lis­tic missiles on July 19, came af­ter Py­ongyang warned of un­spec­i­fied “phys­i­cal coun­ter­ac­tions” against the US-ROK plan to de­ploy the Ter­mi­nal High Alti­tude Area De­fense sys­tem in the ROK by the end of next year.

Wang Jun­sheng, an as­so­ciate re­searcher at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences’ Na­tional In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Strat­egy, said the mis­sile launch was di­rectly con­nected to the planned de­ploy­ment of THAAD in the ROK.

“The de­ploy­ment of THAAD pro­vided Py­ongyang with a good ex­cuse to carry out mis­sile tests, and since THAAD will tar­get Py­ongyang’ s bal­lis­tic mis­sile sand nu­clear weapons, it might have been ex­pected that Py­ongyang would have such a re­ac­tion,” Wang said.

Ruan Zongze, vice-pres­i­dent of the China In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, said the Korean Penin­sula’s sit­u­a­tion has be­come more com­pli­cated, since the plan to de­ploy THAAD changed the fo­cus of the big pow­ers in the re­gion. The fo­cus should be on de­nu­cle­ariza­tion in­stead, he said.

“China had ded­i­cated a lot of effort to de­nu­cle­ariz­ing the DPRK and strictly im­ple­mented the UN resolution (for sanc­tions), but on the con­trary, some coun­tries in the re­gion showed no re­spect for those ef­forts by de­ploy­ing the THAAD sys­tem, whose radar range could mon­i­tor mil­i­tary ac­tiv­i­ties of eastern and north­east­ern China, which vi­o­lates China’s na­tional se­cu­rity,” Ruan said.

“Mean­while, the de­ploy­ment se­ri­ously dam­aged the po­lit­i­cal trust among coun­tries in the re­gion, and could make the com­mon con­sen­sus of de­nu­cle­ariz­ing Py­ongyang turn into an arms race in­volv­ing the ROK, DPRK, China, Rus­sia and the US.”

Un­der the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, all par­ties should avoid pro­vok­ing each other or in­creas­ing ten­sions.” The For­eign Min­istry Spokesper­son’s Of­fice

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