Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced that the government is extending sanctions against North Korea for two more years. The bans on trade and port calls were supposed to expire on April 13 this year, but due to the recent nuclear testing conducted by the reclusive state in February, the government decided to extend the ban.
They are also adding more disciplinary measures as per the United Nations Security Council resolution passed last month requiring member countries to inspect cargo that is under suspicion of being part of North Korea’s weapons development. Japan will also be freezing the foreign assets of their primary foreign exchange bank, as well as those of the four top officials of the government and ruling party.
Aside from their persistence in conducting nuclear tests despite repeated protests and warnings from the international community, North Korea has also released provocative statements and moves that haven’t helped their case. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said that the Japanese government is also very disappointed with the communist state’s lack of action in resolving the abduction of Japanese and foreign nationals, which Pyongyang has admitted to doing. Japan said it is willing to lift the sanctions, at least partially, if they see North Korea taking positive steps towards resolving all these issues that have caused renewed tension in the region.
But if their recent actions are any indications, they will not be doing any reconciliatory actions anytime soon. Last Saturday, Pyongyang said that they are in a “state of war” with South Korea and on Tuesday announced that they are restarting operations at the Yongbyon nuclear facility which had been mothballed under a nuclear disarmament treaty in 2007, which they seem to have no intention of honoring anymore. Then just yesterday, news reports from South Korea said that the North Korean government has given approval for a nuclear attack on the United States and that they have already warned The White House and the Pentagon.
[ via RTT News ]