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Japan to push for punitive U.N. resolution if North Korea tests nuclear weapon

Japan to push for punitive U.N. resolution if North Korea tests nuclear weapon

Japan said Saturday it will push for a punitive U.N. resolution if North Korea doesn't heed a Security Council statement urging it to cancel plans to test a nuclear weapon.
The council adopted a statement on Friday urging North Korea to halt its threatened nuclear test and return immediately to talks on scrapping its nuclear weapons program, warning that exploding a nuclear device would threaten international peace.
Japan sees a possible nuclear test by North Korea as "a grave threat to the peace and security of northeast Asia and the world" and welcomed the statement, according to the Foreign Ministry.
"If North Korea conducts a nuclear weapons test despite the concerns expressed by international society, the Security Council must adopt a resolution outlining severely punitive measures," the ministry warned in a statement released after the council meeting.
Japanese officials have said they are stepping up monitoring of North Korea after a diplomat suggested a test over the weekend was a possibility. The North threatened Tuesday to conduct a nuclear test to prove it is a nuclear power, although it gave no date.
"Based on the development so far, it would be best to view that a test is possible this weekend," Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi told Japanese broadcaster TV Asahi on Friday in New York.
Top Japanese officials said the country was preparing for any contingency.
"We are dealing with the situation with thorough information-gathering and contingency plans, should there be any unforeseeable situation," Defense Agency chief Fumio Kyuma told a news conference. "We are doing all we can from all sides."
"If a nuclear test is carried out, our monitoring system can detect earthquakes or radioactivity," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki said. "We have taken the appropriate steps."
An underground nuclear explosion can trigger seismic waves through the earth's crust that can be strong enough to be picked up by earthquake-detecting equipment.
Japan also has two intelligence-gathering satellites and launched a third in September that can monitor the North's nuclear weapons and missile programs.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday he plans to call for a separate message demanding that the North abort its nuclear test plans during his fence-mending summits in Beijing and Seoul next week.
"It is important to discuss the situation and share our views," Abe told a parliamentary committee. "I plan to issue a message, with each leader, to demand North Korea not conduct this outrage."
Abe is slated to meet his counterparts in Beijing on Sunday and Seoul on Monday.
On Thursday, a U.S. military plane capable of detecting radiation took off from Okinawa in southern Japan and is thought to be monitoring whether North Korea carries out a test, according to media reports. U.S. military officials in Japan refused to comment on the report.


Updated : 2021-07-25 18:47 GMT+08:00