US working on joint action on North Korea

Reuter’s has a brief article up today about the US response to North Korea’s recent test firing of long-range missiles. I’m watching for news on this, because I want to see inspiring leadership from our administration on this issue. To me, this is a good start, but I’ll be watching how we continue to deal with North Korea in the near future and how North Korea responds to the US.

“My message was that we want to solve this problem diplomatically, and the best way to solve the problem diplomatically is for all of us to be working in concert and to send one message, and that is — to Kim Jong Il — that, ‘We expect you to adhere to international norms, and we expect you to keep your word,’ Bush said.

“It is in our interests that we send a clear message to the leaders of North Korea,” he added at a White House news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

While China and Russia oppose sanctions on North Korea for the volley of missiles it fired, the United States and Japan have closed ranks in the face of a council split on the issue.

Anyone who knows how anything about the UN knows that China and Russia agreeing to a stance opposed to the US’ stance isn’t unusual. The interesting thing is Japan, which has at times been somewhat distanced from the issue has sided with the US for now.

A defiant North Korea vowed more tests and threatened to use force if the international community tried to stop it.

“The KPA will go on with missile launch exercises as part of its efforts to bolster deterrent for self-defense in the future,” North Korea’s official KCNA news agency quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.

“The DPRK will have no option but to take stronger physical actions of other forms, should any other country dare take issue with the exercises and put pressure upon it.”

DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Officials say North Korea launched at least six missiles from its east coast and, as the international community fumed, fired off a seventh some 12 hours later.

Well, now we have a bit more concrete information. Yesterday, I’d seen reports of as few as three to as many as 11 missiles had been test fired. Today, North Korea acknowledged the missile firings for the first time, and gave definite numbers.

South Korea’s defense minister told a parliamentary committee that an analysis of equipment and personnel being moved in and out of a missile-launch site in North Korea suggested the possibility of more launches, Yonhap reported.

. . .

Experts say it could take weeks to prepare a Taepodong-2 for firing. Tokyo said it did not expect an imminent launch.

Well, we’ll see. Apparently, we at least have a little bit of time to consider our options more carefully.

Japan’s Koizumi and Bush agreed by phone to work together for a U.N. resolution demanding that nations halt funds and technology that could be used for Pyongyang’s missile program.

. . .

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday sanctions against North Korea would be counter-productive now.

“Trying to talk straight away about the threat of sanctions leads to reciprocal threats from North Korea, as has happened several times before. And then you still have to return to negotiations, only then it will be in a more tense atmosphere,” he told reporters.

I think that translates to “We don’t want to support the US but are scared to say so, so we’ll make up reasons for why we aren’t supporting sanctions. But I could be wrong on that.

[tags]North Korea, Missile test firings[/tags]