August 10, 2017 10:44
North Korea's rapidly advancing nuclear and missile programs could spark an arms race in Northeast Asia and have a nuclear domino effect on South Korea and Japan.
Already there are mounting calls for nuclear armament from conservative South Korean politicians.
The New York Times on Tuesday quoted Japan's 2017 defense white paper as stating, "It is possible that North Korea has already achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and has acquired nuclear warheads."
It commented, "That bleak assessment is likely to feed a growing debate in Japan about whether the country should acquire the means to launch preemptive military strikes."
On Monday, Liberty Korea Party leader Hong Joon-pyo called for the deployment of American tactical nuclear weapons, saying, "Peace will come when we achieve a balance of power, not when we are begging for it."
The daily quoted Prof. Hideshi Takesada of Takushoku University in Tokyo as saying, "If South Korea went nuclear, that debate would happen in Japan too."
In that case, he said Tokyo "might rethink its longstanding aversion to them -- despite its traumatic experiences at the end of World War II, when American atomic bombs devastated the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki."
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