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Home > Media Reiews > News Review Last Updated: 14:53 03/09/2007
News Review #114: March 20, 2003

Japan Threatens To Break Pledge With N. Korea

Reviewed By Hitoshi URABE

"Japan Threatens To Break Pledge With N. Korea" =Japan%20Threatens%20To%20Break%20Pledge%20With%20N.%20Korea&catOID=45C9C78B-88AD-11D 4-A57200A0CC5EE46C
(By VOA News) Voice of America


Is it a provocative action to repeal a bilateral statement by one of its signers unilaterally? Well, it depends, on what is written on the document, and whether the other party would have the sensitivity to recognize it.

According to the article, Japan is considering to repeal the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, signed on September 17 last year, upon Mr Koizumi's surprise visit to Pyongyang, by the Prime Minister and Kim Jon Il of North Korea. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda in a press conference confirmed that abandoning the statement is indeed being considered within the administration.

But in order to assess what effect it would have if the declaration were repealed, the document itself must be referred to, and actually the declaration is very short for this sort of paper, with the volume of only a page and a half.

It states Japan and North Korea "would sincerely tackle outstanding problems between Japan and the DARK based upon their mutual trust in the course of achieving the normalization" and that the countries would discuss how to provide "economic co-operation after the normalization by the Japanese side to the DPRK side." It further stipulates both countries "would comply with international law and would not commit conducts threatening the security of the other side" and "would co-operate with each other in order to maintain and strengthen the peace and stability of North East Asia." Further, it is declared "for an overall resolution of the nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsula, they (both countries) would comply with all related international agreements" and North Korea "expressed its intention that, pursuant to the spirit of this Declaration, it would further maintain the moratorium on missile launching in and after 2003."

In essence, what it says is Japan would cooperate with North Korea in its endeavor to foster economy so long as they would not disrupt safety of Japan and other countries in the area. Reviewing the recent actions by North Korea, critics have commented that North Korea is not performing in accordance with the Declaration. It should be noted also that Japan would not be losing any rights by the Declaration being revoked but would rather be relieved of certain obligations. There is nothing to prevent Japan from repealing the declaration once it deems North Korea is not performing in accordance with it.

There is a catch, however. An act of repealing a bilateral declaration may be considered as a very strong expression of discomfort in terms of diplomatic protocol under normal circumstances. But in case of North Korea, who apparently has no respect for diplomatic protocols to start with, even such a strong action of scrapping a declaration could only end up to be Japan's monodrama, without creating any stir in the bilateral relationship.

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