August 03, 2016 09:55
Japan in its latest defense white paper puts an exceptionally high estimate on North Korea's nuclear capabilities, possibly to justify a push for rearmament.
Japan's Defense Ministry publishes the white paper every year with estimates of the security threats faced by the country.
"Had the Taepodong 2-derived ballistic missile been used for its original purpose, its range would have possibly reached more than 10,000 km on the premise that the weight of its warhead was less than 1 ton," the white paper claims.
That would place Los Angeles and Denver within the range of North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The ministry said North Korea "may" have succeeded in miniaturizing a nuclear warhead through technological developments achieved via four nuclear tests, and could conduct additional missile tests to prove the technology.
"Changes in the balance of power" due to North Korea's provocations and China's military expansion are cited as the biggest threats to security in Northeast Asia.
The white paper refers to the North Korean threat as a "grave and urgent" while accusing China of attempting "unilateral and uncompromising" moves in the South China Sea.
One diplomatic source said, "There is an implied view that the fundamental cause of tensions in Northeast Asia is Chinese hegemony, while North Korea has become a concrete and specific threat."
Meanwhile, the paper repeats a flimsy colonial claim to South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo, an expansionist fantasy included every year since 2005. Dokdo is called "Takeshima" and a map shows a circle around the islets claiming the area as Japanese territory.
The government here immediately called in the defense attaché from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul to lodge a protest.
The Defense Ministry here urged Japan not to repeat the claim and warned of "firm" measures against any attempt to disturb South Korea's sovereignty of the islets.
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