Most young boys love cars and trucks. In particular, they like working vehicles such as fire engines, garbage trucks, bulldozers and forklifts. But it doesn't mean all working vehicles are heroes of justice.
Last summer, four large special-purpose military vehicles were secretly exported from China to North Korea. They are the 16-wheelers that were shown carrying a new type of ballistic missile in a military parade in Pyongyang in April. Exports of mobile launch pads violate a U.N. Security Council resolution that bans the delivery of weapons and other military equipment to North Korea.
When the ship that carried these vehicles later made a port call in Osaka, an on-board inspection uncovered irrefutable evidence in the form of a document detailing export items. Japanese authorities informed the United States and South Korea. China, which was privately questioned by the United States, reportedly admitted the export, but claimed the vehicles were designed to carry logs.
I am reminded of a haiku by Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828): "Give me the harvest moon/ A child cries."
The relationship between North Korea and China resembles that between a spoiled child and a parent that keeps buying it toys. Invariably, spoiled children turn out to be a nuisance. The right thing for sensible neighbors to do is to gently reprimand the parents.
However, Japan, the United States and South Korea refrained from publicly announcing China’s violation of the U.N. resolution. Apparently, Washington does not want to needlessly accuse Beijing, which is keeping Pyongyang in check.
"Let's just ignore a couple of toys if it keeps the brat from misbehavior if only for the moment," Washington seems to think.
But there are also reports that North Korea is spreading dangerous toys among fellow delinquents.
"Working vehicles" can also transform into machines that can destroy and kill depending on how they are used. We must not overlook the frightening situation in which monsters carrying missiles disguised as logs slip through backstreets. It is time for international society to squarely admonish the "parent."
--The Asahi Shimbun, June 14
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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.
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