North Korea and South Korea military modernization: Japan watching developments
Kanako Mita and Sawako Utsumi
Modern Tokyo Times
The military modernization of the Korean Peninsula is increasing once more to a higher level. Hence, with the ruling party in Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), seeking to double Japan’s military budget if re-elected on October 31, then the latest submarine-launched ballistic missile by North Korea gives credence to the LDP’s objective.
South Korea also launched a similar type of military weapon from a submarine recently. At the same time, South Korea will unveil a new state-of-the-art fighter jet later this week, along with other military weapons. Indeed, the military defense exhibition to be held by South Korea this week is reported to be the most potent ever. Therefore, North Korea and South Korea are equally expanding their military prowess.
Voice of America reports, “South Korea is undertaking an ambitious defense modernization plan, which includes several new missiles, domestically produced fighter jets, and even plans for its first aircraft carrier. South Korea, which hosts over 28,000 U.S. troops, is trying to take more responsibility for its own defense, as well as take a bigger role in regional affairs, analysts say.”
North Korea believes that America, Japan, and South Korea are hypocritical by condemning solely North Korea. After all, while China is a friend of North Korea, it isn’t in a direct military alliance unlike America, Japan, and South Korea.
Kim Yo Jong, the sister of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, uttered it is an “illogical attitude that describes their similar behavior as a legitimate action to support peace, and ours as a threat to peace.”
She continued, “I think that only when impartiality and the attitude of respecting each other are maintained, can there be a smooth understanding between the North and the South.”
The BBC reports, “On Tuesday South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said one missile had been launched from the port of Sinpo, in the east of North Korea where Pyongyang usually bases its submarines. It landed in the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan.”
Some doubt remains if North Korea’s missile was launched from an underwater platform – or launched from a submarine. However, the intent – and focus on hypersonic weapons – by North Korea is visible.
From Japan’s point of view, notably the LDP, the rapid military developments by China, North Korea, the Russian Federation, and South Korea – which all share the same geopolitical space of Northeast Asia – belies the importance for Japan to also focus on strengthening its military capability. Henceforth, with the main political opposition – and junior partner in the ruling coalition (Komeito) – being opposed to the planned doubling of the military expenditure, the LDP will feel justified by the latest military events on the Korean Peninsula.
Yonhap news agency reports, “In Washington on Tuesday, Seoul’s top nuclear envoy, Noh Kyu-duk, and his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Sung Kim and Takehiro Funakoshi, plan to meet trilaterally to discuss a joint strategy on the North.”
Lee Jay Walker says, “Unlike the war of words about the Taiwan crisis concerning China, a more nuanced approach is being taken by America and South Korea towards North Korea. It is known that South Korea under President Moon Jae-in is more open to North Korea. Therefore, despite the nervousness of ongoing military developments on the Korean Peninsula, a window of opportunity remains.”
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