America isn’t the only country concerned with North Korea’s threats. And one nation in the area is bracing itself for military action within the near future.
As reported by AP News, Japan’s Defense Minister has claimed that North Korea’s missile capabilities have grown to an “unprecedented, critical and imminent” level, suggesting that they now require “different responses” to match the threat, implying the potential of military action.
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said that the rising threat North Korea poses compels his nation to endorse the US view that “all options” are on the table, which, as President Trump repeatedly stated, suggests possible military action. The island nation has become especially anxious about a possible North Korean attack following the two missiles that were launched over Japanese territory.
These comments have been made in light of a trilateral meeting in the Philippines with South Korea’s defense minister Song Young-moo and US Defense Secretary James Mattis, with each making their respective statements about the rogue nation before reporters.
Onodera added that North Korea’s recent underground nuclear test could have been a hydrogen bomb, which is significantly more powerful than an atomic bomb.
“The country has steadfastly improved [its] nuclear and missiles capability,” he said, adding that “The threat posed by North Korea has grown to the unprecedented, critical and imminent level. Therefore, we have to take calibrated and different responses to meet that level of threat,” Onodera said, without further clarifying what “different responses” means.
Mattis criticized Pyongyang for breaking UN Security Council resolutions against its nuclear and ballistic missile program, but the Defense Secretary did not mention any possible military action. Instead, he emphasized that the three nations need to continue pressuring the rogue government to give up its nuclear program. “North Korea’s provocations threaten regional and global security,” he said.
The South Korean defense minister said that North Korea’s behavior is “becoming worse and worse.” When asked about the risk of outright war with the northern neighbor, the defense minister cautioned against an early use of force.
“I want to emphasize that war is not as easy as the journalists make it sound in the press and the media,” he said. “As defense ministers who are in charge of national defense and other high tech weapons such as ballistic missiles, we understand the very weight of engaging in a war and as such we will make all the efforts necessary to resolve the issue in a [most] diplomatic and economic way as possible.”
However, he did add that, if attacked, then they will respond with firm action.
Mattis has previously urged military leaders “to be ready” with military options if required to deal with the rogue nation, with Trump telling the Defense Secretary that he wanted military options at a “much faster pace” and that “maybe it’s the calm before the storm,” according to Politico.
Japan is having to change how they respond to the possibility of a missile threat from North Korea. Should Japan and the US discuss how to respond to a possible attack?
In light of these developments, South Korea and Japan recently carried out their fifth joint military drill, a rehearsal to track any ballistic missile that would be launched from North Korea.
As tensions continue to escalate throughout the region, only time will tell how this ticking geopolitical time bomb will be defused.