As North Korea continues to develop its nuclear missiles program, pressure is mounting on Japan and South Korea to develop their own countermeasures.
According to Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop, if North Korea was recognised as a nuclear weapons state, “then Japan and [South] Korea would have little option than to develop their own nuclear weapons capability”.
Her comments, published in The Australian, follow discussions with senior officials in South Korea and the US, revealing the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula and what officials fear could become a nuclear arms race.
Australian Strategic Policy Institute executive director Peter Jennings also told The Australian that a nuclear arms race is now a “real risk”.
“Everything to do with the Korean Peninsula is hair-raising right now,” he said, adding there’s only a one to two-year window to deal with the threat.
“I think 2018 will be crunch time.”
Last Sunday, the North’s military tested another medium-to-long range ballistic missile, the Pukguksong-2.
The official Korean Central News Agency said the purpose of the test was to verify technical indexes of the weapon system and examine its adaptability under battle conditions.
This missile, which travelled 500 kilometres, came just a week after a previous launch on May 14 sparked international condemnation and threats of tougher UN sanctions.
The Australian has more here.
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