N. Korea still serious and imminent threat: Japan | International | ABnews24

Sun, September 23, 2018
N. Korea still serious and imminent threat: Japan
Dhaka, 28 August, Abnews: North Korea still poses a "serious and imminent threat", Japan said in its first annual defence review since an outbreak of diplomacy on the Korean peninsula.
 
Japan's 2018 defence white paper also took aim at China's rise as a military power, saying Beijing was sparking "strong security concerns in the region and international community, including Japan".
 
Last year's defence review was published at the height of the tensions with North Korea, amid nuclear and missile tests and US President Donald Trump threatening to rain down "fire and fury" on Pyongyang if it kept up its threats.
 
But since then, a spectacular diplomatic detente has taken place, culminating in the historic summit between Mr Trump and the North's leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on 12 June.
 
Nevertheless, Tokyo insisted today: "There is no change in our basic recognition concerning the threat of North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles."
 
Pyongyang continues to post "an unprecedentedly serious and imminent threat to Japan's security and significantly damage the peace and security of the region and the international community", according to Tokyo.
 
Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera acknowledged in the document that North Korea had begun "dialogue" with former foes the US and South Korea.
 
"But we cannot overlook the fact that, even to this day, it possesses and fully deploys several hundred missiles that put nearly all of Japan within range," stressed the minister.
 
In response, Japan is steadily upgrading its capacity to shield the nation from the North's arsenal, including a plan to spend some $4.2bn over the next three decades on installing and operating US radar systems.
 
Despite the historic handshake in Singapore, there has been little progress in denuclearising the Korean peninsula and Washington-Pyongyang relations appear to have taken a turn for the worse, with Mr Trump abruptly scrapping a planned visit to the North by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
 
The white paper also reiterated its worries about China's increasing military spending and expanding naval ambitions.
 
It complained that Beijing was trying to "change the status quo by coercion", referring to such actions as building up disputed islands in the South China Sea and expanding naval activities around East China Sea islands in dispute with Japan.
 
Pompeo visit scrapped after belligerent letter from N Korea: report 
 
Mr Pompeo's planned trip to North Korea last weekend was cancelled after he received what US officials deemed to be a belligerent letter from Pyongyang, The Washington Post reported.
 
The precise contents of the letter, which came from Kim Yong-chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling party, were not known, the Post said.
 
Mr Pompeo received it on Friday and showed it to President Trump. They concluded it was belligerent enough to call off the visit, the Post said, quoting two administration officials.
 
In pulling the plug on the visit, Mr Trump tweeted that he had not seen sufficient progress toward Pyongyang denuclearising. 
 
Mr Trump also criticised China for not doing enough to help push denuclearisation, but left open the possibility of a Pompeo trip to Pyongyang when the US-China trading relationship is "resolved." – RTE
 
ABN/Adrian/Jasim/AD
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