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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 July 2006, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
N Korea missile tests worry world press
World press

Newspapers across the globe condemn North Korea's missile test launches, with one Japanese commentator speaking of a "moment of truth" for the US.

Other Asian dailies look to China to "shoulder a leading role" in bringing the Kim Jong-il regime back to the negotiating table.

Elsewhere, one Russian military paper argues that the failed tests show the poor quality of North Korea's missile technology, whilst an Iranian daily says the US will use the launches to justify its continued presence in north-east Asia.

Asia-Pacific

YOSHIHISA KOMORI IN JAPAN'S SANKEI SHIMBUN

North Korea's missile launches have placed the Bush administration before a "moment of truth", that is, to have a showdown with the Kim Jong-Il regime without delay.

MASARU HONDA IN JAPAN'S ASAHI SHIMBUN

The series of missile launches means the collapse of the "nuclear freeze" following the "missile freeze"... There is no doubt that the missile launches carry a threatening message to the United States.

HIROTSUGU AIDA IN JAPAN'S RYUKYU SHIMPO

It is important to have a strong bond with the United States. However, that is not enough to prevent North Korea's reckless conduct... If the "Japan-US alliance in the world" is in fact the "Japan-US alliance, which is isolated in the world", discussion at the UN Security Council could be protracted, and it will be difficult to correct North Korea's outrageous acts.

SOUTH KOREA'S JOONGANG ILBO

The blatant pyrotechnics were widely seen as North Korea thumbing its nose at the nations that had tried to discourage it from testing the Taepodong, especially China, Japan, South Korea and the United States. The launches were in particular a severe embarrassment for Seoul, which has tried doggedly to keep rapprochement with Pyongyang alive despite a series of provocations.

SOUTH KOREA'S HANKYOREH

North Korea has made a clear error in judgment if it sought to use the launching of missiles as a tool for winning concessions or a resolution from the US. The missile threat narrows the range of choices available to the Bush administration. Choosing America's Independence Day as its launch date made US public opinion even less favourable and will not create the effect Pyongyang desires.

SZE QUN-YUK IN HONG KONG'S TA KUNG PAO

The crux of the North Korean issue lies in the mistrust and hostility between the US and North Korea... Therefore, in order to overcome the present deadlock, the only way out is for the countries concerned, especially the US and North Korea, to back down, and negotiate and resolve all the issues involving North Korea.

HONG KONG'S SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

The threat is not imminent enough to justify a pre-emptive strike. The US cannot afford to put its moral and diplomatic authority at risk, as it has in invading Iraq without United Nations backing and in abuses of human rights in the "war on terror". The threat that North Korea poses to regional security must be resolved by diplomatic means, and China must shoulder a leading role.

HONG KONG'S APPLE DAILY

This action, which disregarded regional stability and disregarded the safety of people in other countries, is extremely irresponsible and extremely dangerous; and the UN Security Council needs to deal with the incident severely as soon as possible and strongly condemn the provocation by the North Korean government.

TAIWAN NEWS

It cannot be denied that Pyongyang's actions might have a silver lining for Taiwan in terms of refocusing attention on the fact that we are the target of the greatest regional missile threat... It would be highly irresponsible for any government to allow our people to face missile threats from China or even North Korea without any defences whatsoever.

UTUSAN MALAYSIA

Test-firing the North Korean missiles will soon add to the tension in East Asia and invite criticism from the international community. But, what's more is that Pyongyang's action will attract the attention of the United States, Japan and South Korea.

SINGAPORE'STHE STRAITS TIMES

The message put out by Pyongyang was that it was pressing on with its programme of sacrificing its citizens' wants for a credible arsenal for self-defence, blackmail, or bargaining - and the world can get stuffed... There is no substitute to getting the Beijing-sponsored six-party process moving again... The UN is an imperfect mechanism in comparison.

FOREIGN MINISTER HASSAN WIRAJUDA IN MEDIA INDONESIA

The Indonesian government has expressed concerns about the test-launching of the ballistic missiles which has added to fresh tension in the region. Indonesia hopes that the dialogue which has thus far been held in Beijing can be resumed for the sake of reaching peace in the Korean Peninsula.

THE AUSTRALIAN

Given that China quietly props up North Korea as a strategic buffer, Beijing today looks like the world's best lever with which to exert diplomatic pressure on its neighbour. With its aspirations to superpower status, China must behave accordingly and do its part to ensure the success of the international system.

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

Kim Jong-il is nothing if not a bold poker player in international relations... The missile launches are being widely seen as a call for attention: stop the financial attack, cajole us back to the table with some more aid, or else... That suggests the concerned outside world should do the opposite.

AUSTRALIA'S THE AGE

Surely North Korea knew what its actions would provoke. It beggars belief that it did not, and it should be ready for the condemnation... After the condemnation, rightly given, the US should strive to get North Korea to the negotiating table, and North Korea should agree. Otherwise, a pariah it will remain.

Europe

ALEKSEY ANISHCHUK IN RUSSIA'S MOSKOVSKIY KOMSOMOLETS

The warheads were not pointed towards the much-loathed America, but to the north-west - in other words, at us. When the half-deranged junta of Juche ideologues launches missiles towards our territory all Russia can manage is cautious Foreign Ministry statements.

SERGEY ISHCHENKO IN RUSSIA'S TRUD

The North Koreans not only ignored appeals to reason, but tried all they could to make the tests look as threatening as possible... Pyongyang has ignored international law in another way as well. The North Koreans threatened the lives of many crews on fishing vessels within Russia's economic exclusion zone.

VLADIMIR KUZAR IN RUSSIA'S KRASNAYA ZVEZDA

There wasn't really much for military commentators to comment on. Serious analysts have been saying for ages that North Korea's missile technology is at a very low level. These failed tests have confirmed this once again.

FRANCE'S LIBERATION

For many years, little Korea has derived a wicked pleasure from using its arms policy to needle the US giant. Pyongyang had no qualms about timing its latest blow to coincide with America's Independence Day.

GERMANY'S FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG

What North Korea fired into the sky on Wednesday was not particularly frightening in technical terms, but in political terms Kim Jong-il has sent out a devastating signal to the region... He has certainly drawn attention to himself, but the limited number of his friends has gone down again as a result of this provocation.

North America

NEW YORK TIMES

Since the test poses no direct security threat, and violates no international treaty, there is no justification for any military response, by the United States or anyone else.

Everyone's long-term interest lies in reanimating the diplomacy that has sputtered to a halt over an unrelated banking dispute. The Bush administration should have moved many months ago to overcome that obstacle.

But now it is North Korea that has clearly put itself in the wrong. Washington should obviously not reward that bad faith by abruptly rushing back to the bargaining table. But reviving those talks in a more considered way would serve America's own best interests.

THE WASHINGTON POST

North Korea's long-range missile test Tuesday, although unsuccessful, was another reminder of the bleak foreign policy landscape that faces President Bush even outside of Iraq.

Few foreign policy experts foresee the reclusive Stalinist state giving up the nuclear weapons it appears to have acquired, making it another in a long list of world problems that threaten to cloud the closing years of the Bush administration, according to foreign policy experts in both parties.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE

North Korea's erratic leader Kim Jong-il has nuclear weapons capability and is trying to find a way to deliver his weapons to our shores. He failed on the 4th of July. He will keep trying. That's a good argument for the US to continue developing a missile defense system - including the capability to intercept missiles in the "boost" phase, when the missile is easier to target.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Russia, China, South Korea and Japan all need to work alongside the Bush administration in the so-called six-party talks. Previously, Pyongyang had been able to exploit varying degrees of seriousness about this process.

China has the most leverage with the rogue Stalinist state; Kim's provocation is therefore an affront to Beijing's credibility as well. The Chinese government of Hu Jintao will have to be more forceful in seeking to moderate the dictator's behavior.

NEWSDAY.COM

China has the means to persuade North Korea to halt further missile tests and return to the bargaining table. It must do so.

It is in no civilised nation's interest to have a rogue regime like North Korea's continue to develop nuclear weapons, as Kim claims he has already, and perfect the technology of ballistic missiles capable of delivering apocalyptic payloads across continents.

BOSTON GLOBE

North Korea's launching of seven missiles into the Sea of Japan Tuesday was not merely a reminder that Pyongyang plays hardball, but also that President Bush's refusal to engage in give-and-take negotiations with the North reflects an incoherent policy.

Middle East

SAUDI ARABIA'S AL-RIYAD

Surrounding North Korea with sophisticated US troops acts as a reason for it to respond through strengthening itself with offensive weapons.

IRAN'S HAMSHAHRI

North Korea's rulers are trying to defend their political system and national interests and have risked their destiny. This series of missile tests may force North Korea to witness challenges bigger than they have expected so far.

IRAN'S KARGOZARAN

The important point is that North Korea's missile tests will let America continue its presence in north-east Asia. America's presence there has been seriously challenged since the end of the Cold War... But North Korea's missile tests have offered a good pretext for America to stay in the region.

Surrounding North Korea with sophisticated US troops acts as a reason for it to respond through strengthening itself with offensive weapons.

MUSIB NU-AYMI IN IRAN'S AL-VEFAGH

The Korean missiles were made when the US gave the Zionist entity [Israel] free rein to possess destructive weapons. Launching these missiles was expected when the Americans resorted to occupation as a means to expand control and implement a plan of hegemony over the world. The will of the international community should not be enforced against one country while another is exempted.

ORLY AZULAY IN ISRAEL'S YEDIOT AHARONOT

Kim Jong-il flexed his muscles and did so in order to spoil the American Independence Day celebrations... Opposite this muscle stands the ego of President Bush - the ego of an American president who is no longer the sheriff of the world. All those who downplay the crisis should remember that out of the seven it has already launched one did indeed fail, but there were another six that can still hit US targets in Asia.

ALON LEVKOVITCH IN ISRAEL'S MAARIV

It is lucky for all sides that the launch failed, but had North Korea indeed succeeded in launching the long-range missile it is not clear whether the Americans would have succeeded in intercepting it. At any rate, the situation could worsen because of the American need to respond to the threat by military means.

Africa

EGYPT'S AL-AHRAM

This Korean step poses an obvious threat to regional stability in East Asia, triggers anew the arms race and brings back the atmosphere of the Cold War. This requires wise handling by all sides alongside steps and measures that will lead to a cooling-off instead of an escalation, which will not serve the interests of any side.

KENYA'S STANDARD

The development poses a threat to all countries, including North Korea itself, and nudges the world closer to doomsday... The communist regime must be stopped. The world has no room for another arms race.

KENYA'S NATION

The missile launches serve to dramatise the reason why Pyongyang should not possess nuclear weapons. Yet, the manner in which the US have been engaging Pyongyang is anything but reassuring to friend and foe. While sanctions might work to a certain extent, what's needed is a broad-based approach that encourages the regime to abandon its nuclear weapon programme without using what it has accumulated so far.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.




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