On Tuesday, the Japense Minister Of Defence said that North Korea continues to represent “a serious and imminent threat.”
Last year, this white paper was published when tensions with Pyongyang were at their height, between missile fire and nuclear tests. US President Donald Trump then promised to unleash on the North “fire and fury.”.
But the Winter Olympics in South Korea began a spectacular rapprochement that culminated in the historic summit held in Singapore on June 12 between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
However, Tokyo maintains an inflexible stance: “There is no change in our assessment of the threat posed by nuclear weapons and North Korean missiles” to the security of Japan, insists the report.
The threat, which the ministry continues to call “unprecedented,” “seriously undermines the peace and security of the region and the international community,” according to the document.
The Minister of Defense, Itsunori Onodera, takes note of the “dialogue” between North Korea and its former enemies.
But we can not ignore the fact that, to this day, Pyongyang has several hundred missiles putting almost all of Japan within reach.
Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera
Japan is also wary of Beijing’s ambitions
In response, the Japanese government is steadily strengthening its defense capabilities.
In particular, he announced at the end of July an investment of 3.6 billion euros over the next 30 years to install and operate the US land-based missile interception device, designed to counter a possible North Korean attack.
In the white paper, Japan also reiterates its “deep concern” about China’s military and naval ambitions. Beijing “tries to change the status quo by the constraint” in the region, deplores the Japanese government.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying rejected the white paper, saying it contains “unfounded accusations” and “irresponsible accusations”.
“We hope that the Japanese will not make excuses to increase their military forces, but rather look to the bigger picture of a stable relationship with China,” she said.
China, arguing for an older presence in the South China Sea, claims many islands and many reefs in the area, facing the rival claims of other riparian countries (Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei) and supports its pretensions of sovereignty by installing armaments on islands it controls.
In the East China Sea, Beijing is also fighting in Japan the Diaoyu Islands, administered by Tokyo under the name of Senkaku.