Beijing urges calm after DPRK launch
Midrange ballistic missile lands in or near waters controlled by Japan
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