Japan Penalizes North Korea for Missile Overflight: Pyongyang Decries Flight Cancellations

By Witter, Willis | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 3, 1998 | Go to article overview

Japan Penalizes North Korea for Missile Overflight: Pyongyang Decries Flight Cancellations


Witter, Willis, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


TOKYO - Japan yesterday retaliated against North Korea for test-firing a ballistic missile over its territory by suspending all charter flights to the secretive Communist state. North Korea denounced Japan for making a "fuss" over the incident.

"We bitterly denounce Japan for making a fuss over the matter that belongs to our sovereignty while being unaware of its background," the official Korea Central News Agency said in a dispatch monitored in Tokyo.

"We warn Japan to face up to reality, act with discretion and renounce its anachronistic hostile policy . . . at once," it said.

Japan's suspension affected nine already approved charter flights between now and the end of the year and applications for an additional 14.

It was the first reference by North Korea's state-run media to Monday's missile test in which a two- and possibly three-stage Taepo Dong-1 rocket flew over Japan's main island of Honshu. The nose cone landed in the Pacific Ocean about 370 miles offshore and the booster fell into the Sea of Japan.

And early today Japan's military went on increased alert to prepare for a possible second ballistic missile test launch by North Korea, a Defense Agency spokesman said.

The spokesman, Hiromitsu Kuwano, declined to specify what measures Japan was taking, or what information the government had that a test was planned.

An unnamed official in the Seoul government told the Yonhap news agency today that North Korea appears to be preparing for a second launch of its new medium-range missile, but the firing is not imminent.

In Washington, the Senate decided to cut off funds for North Korea to punish it for the missile test and violations of international agreements.

"We're seeing what trying to appease a totalitarian dictatorship will achieve," said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Republican.

The Senate did not vote on the proposal but added it to the annual foreign operations spending bill by agreement of leaders in both parties. The measure cuts off $35 million to help North Korea build a civilian nuclear reactor, money the U.S. agreed to pay in return for North Korean agreement to abandon its atomic-weapons program.

The missile launch heightened fears about Asian security and prompted Japan to drop talks on establishing diplomatic ties with North Korea. Japan also ruled out additional food aid and suspended work on an international project to build nuclear reactors in North Korea.

North Korea's statement also demanded compensation from Japan for suffering inflicted during its rule of Korea from 1910 to 1945.

Japan normalized relations with capitalist South Korea in 1965 but has no formal relations with North Korea.

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Japan Penalizes North Korea for Missile Overflight: Pyongyang Decries Flight Cancellations
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