Japan and United States senior diplomats met to discuss reactions to be taken if North Korea goes on with its plans of launching a missile in mid-April. Japan is interested in generating an international coordinated response on the situation.
“We are urging (North Korea) not to do what they announced,” said Shinsuke Sugiyama, the senior Japanese diplomat for Asian affairs, after the meeting.
“Of course, I don’t think I’ll try to deny that we are discussing the contingency measures, which means… trying to make measures if the launch is going to materialize,” he said.
Sugiyama did not give details on the possible retaliation measure which his country could take. Japan has never been involved in an armed conflict after the Second World War, but its leaders have said they are ready to order the shooting down of the rocket if it poses a threat to Japanese territory.
The U.S. has suspended a humanitarian program which was providing food assistance to North Korea, following the latter’s announcement on the planned launch.
North Korea insists the plan is a weather satellite launch, but the Western powers have criticized it more or less openly saying Pyongyang is using the mission as a pretext for a long-range missile launch test.