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U.N. civil aviation body to censure North Korea

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe International Civil Aviation Organization is set to adopt a Japan-sponsored draft resolution at its council meeting Friday condemning North Korea for repeatedly launching missiles without prior notice, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

Adoption of the resolution will mark a rare event because the ICAO — which sets global rules on aviation — seldom gets involved in political issues.

According to Japanese government sources, the government has gained the understanding of member states in light of the current situation in which Pyongyang’s missiles are threatening aviation safety. The resolution will not be legally binding, but the government plans to continue piling pressure on North Korea through other similar resolutions.

Pyongyang has launched ballistic missiles 14 times so far this year. In July, a missile landed within Japan’s exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan, while in September another missile fell into the Pacific Ocean after passing over Hokkaido.

Some airline companies such as French carrier Air France have taken measures, including changing flight routes from those over the Sea of Japan to those above the Japanese archipelago.

Following these developments, the Japanese government hinted at the possibility of circulating a draft resolution condemning the launches, according to the government sources.

Among a total of 36 council states, more than 30 countries are said to have shown a positive stance toward the draft resolution.

The draft is scheduled to be co-sponsored with at least 10 countries including the United States and South Korea. It will be adopted if it wins support from a majority.

The resolution is expected to strongly condemn Pyongyang for repeatedly launching missiles with no advance warning, thereby threatening civil aviation safety. It is also expected to strongly urge North Korea to abide by international aviation rules.

ICAO is a U.N. specialized agency established in 1947 to ensure the safety and development of international civil aviation. It has 191 member states including Japan, the United States, China and Russia. North Korea is also a member.

The agency’s roles include establishing international rules on civil aviation, providing technical cooperation and checking the safety monitoring systems of member states.

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