Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Kono
Wednesday, November 29, 2017, 6:45 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.
Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs: In complete disregard of the unanimous and strongwill of the international community, North Korea has committed the reckless act of launching a missile that has landed into Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Japan has lodged a protest in the strongest terms through the embassy route in Beijing and at the same time strongly demanded that North Korea change its policies. The protest states that North Korea will not have a bright future without resolving the nuclear and missile issues and the abductions issue, and strongly demands that North Korea change its policies. Although some say that North Korea has restrained its actions for a little over two months, this is nothing to praise because North Korea should not be launching any missiles in the first place. It became clear that rather than restraining itself for these past two months, North Korea has been steadily preparing for its next missile launch. It is now plain to see that North Korea has no intention of exhibiting self-restraint. Japan has cooperated with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States to request Italy, the president of the United Nations Security Council, to convene a meeting of the Security Council. It is likely that a meeting of the Security Council will be held during the early morning of tomorrow in New York. Japan will strengthen its surveillance with a strong sense of urgency, and will continue to exert pressure centered on economic sanctions on North Korea in order to change its policies through close cooperation with the international community.
Reporter: Are there plans for telephone talks with the ROK and the United States after this?
Minister Kono: Prime Minister Abe is holding a telephone talk with President Trump from 6:30 a.m. I would like to take further actions based on this.
Reporter: Defense Minister Onodera stated that there is a possibility that the distance of this missile launch was the longest ever. What is your view of matters such as the elevation of North Korea’s capabilities and the increase in the level of threat?
Minister Kono: The Ministry of Defense has stated that it was an ICBM-class missile, so I believe that is possible. North Korea should not be developing missiles in the first place, so I believe this is a challenge to the international community.
Reporter: I believe that it has become clear that North Korea will not change its attitude even if economic sanctions are continued. Is there any intention of the Japanese Government to cooperate with other countries to take a new form of response?
Minister Kono: There are reports that economic sanctions are effective. I believe international community’s continuous economic sanctions through collaboration and solidity is important.
Reporter: I have a related question. Soon, three months will have passed since the new sanctions resolution against North Korea was adopted. Does the Government intend to request even more thorough implementation of existing sanctions, or new sanctions with additional content?
Minister Kono: I would like to refrain from speculating about discussions in the Security Council. At the very least, I believe it is important that the international community show solidarity to fully implement the existing Security Council resolutions.
Reporter: You mentioned the possibility of this being an ICBM-class missile, but is that the official conclusion of the Government?
Minister Kono: Please ask that question to the Ministry of Defense.
Reporter: It is clear that North Korea has no intention of exhibiting self-restraint. Will it not be even more difficult to make North Korea change its intentions if the same sanctions used up to now are continued in an effort to change the situation? What are your views on this?
Minister Kono: There are reports that economic sanctions are effectively producing results. Although economic sanctions do not produce results in a short space of time, they reliably make North Korea feel pressure. Firstly, to ensure there are no countries that fail to implement the existing Security Council resolutions, efforts for the solidarity of the international community must fully continue.
Reporter: What about the emergency meeting of the Security Council?
Minister Kono: I would like to refrain from speculating about the discussions that will take place in the Security Council.