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S. Korean diplomat says N. Korean nuke test could prompt Japan to adopt atomic weapons

S. Korean diplomat says N. Korean nuke test could prompt Japan to adopt atomic weapons

South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan warned Wednesday that a North Korean nuclear test could prompt Japan to adopt atomic weapons and trigger a regional arms race.
Speaking to lawmakers about North Korea's announcement Tuesday that it plans to conduct a nuclear test, Yu said such a move "could provide a pretext for Japan's nuclear armament."
"This will prompt countermoves by China or Russia and lead to a change in the balance of power in the Northeast Asia," Yu said.
North Korea said Tuesday for the first time that it would test a nuclear weapon, but also pledged not to launch a first strike or allow the bomb technology to be spread outside the country.
In a worst-case scenario, analysts have speculated, a North Korean nuclear test could push Japan to seek its own nuclear deterrent, intensifying historical tensions with China and South Korea, both of which suffered under Japanese colonial rule in the early 20th century.
A test could also strain the alliance between the United States and South Korea, which has sought to engage its neighbor.
Nuclear weapons are a taboo subject among politicians in Japan, where memories of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki still haunt the public psyche.
But former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone shocked lawmakers last month when a think tank he heads, the Institute for International Policy Studies, proposed in a policy paper that Japan "consider the nuclear option to prepare for great changes in international society."


Updated : 2021-07-28 23:27 GMT+08:00