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The World Reacts to North Korea

May 26, 2009

Earlier this year in April North Korea did two long range missile tests, aimed at the two bodies of water bordering Japan. Although North Korea claimed the rockets were designed to launch a satellite, these launches were widely condemned by the United Nations as acts of aggression. North Korea in response to the U.N.’s condemnation said it would start testing its nuclear facilities again and continue to do more long range missile tests. Yesterday North Korea put words into action by conducting a nuclear test. The Japanese newspapers this morning reported different world reactions to the North Korean nuclear testing.

Asahi “Korean Foreign Minister: 3-4 Times the Size of Hiroshima” In response to the nuclear testing conducted by North Korea, the Asahi reported that Korea has determined the blast was 3-4 times the size of the bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Yu Myonfan, the foreign minister, claimed this in an interview in front of the Korean cabinet. Although these numbers are alarming, the Asahi does point out that the Defense Minister, Lee Sanghi, claimed the day before that the blasts were not as big as the Hiroshima blast.

Why are the opinions differing between the Defense Minister and Foreign Minister? The Asahi offers this troubling thought: “According to scientists, both the defense and foreign ministers would have had a different perspective on the bomb blast. If they were in different parts of the country when the nuclear bomb went off, they would’ve felt a different earthquake-like wave.”

Nikkei “Russia: A Strict Resolution is Inevitable” The Nikkei reported the commentary by the Russian Foreign Ministry. As Russia is part of the Security Council, any commentary made by them will surely affect the outcome of how the United Nations responds. “Using our power in the Security Council of the United Nations, we cannot back down from giving a strict response of sanctions to North Korea.”

To echo these comments, the economic summit that was planned between Russia and North Korea for the 28th of this month was delayed until further notice.

YomiuriMissiles Launched at the Sea of Japan” Perhaps the most alarming headline this morning about North Korea was the Yomiuri’s. It is one thing to talk about an event after it has taken place and the world’s reactions. It’s another to briefly state: “North Korea, as confirmed by the authorities in Seoul, launched two missiles directed at the Sea of Japan. One missile was a surface to ship, one missile was surface to air.” It appears Yomiuri, unlike the Nikkei and Asahi, preferred to focus on the long range missile testing instead of the nuclear testing. I know if I was living in Japan though, my first reaction to that article would be: where did the long range missiles end up?

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