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Experts discuss how to respond to North Korea

NHK’s “Nichiyo Toron” Sunday debate show aired a discussion by six scholars on how to respond to the nuclear and missile threat posed by North Korea. The panelists agreed that the North Korea threat has entered a new stage on account of its accelerated development of nuclear and missile technology. Some of the scholars paid special attention to Pyongyang’s claim that the recent launch of ballistic missiles was conducted by a unit tasked with attacking U.S. forces in Japan. Concerning Secretary of State Tillerson’s recent trip to East Asia, the discussants speculated that the Secretary conveyed to Japan and South Korea the Trump administration’s determination to firmly confront Pyongyang. While agreeing that China will continue to hold the key to persuading the DPRK to refrain from conducting further provocations, the panelists expressed concern that the unstable political situation in South Korea will make it difficult for the U.S. and Japan to maintain their trilateral cooperation against North Korea. With regard to a discussion in Japan on whether the nation should possess the ability to attack enemy bases, the scholars acknowledged the need for discussion about the matter but argued that the issue should be discussed from the long-term perspective of Japan’s security rather than in direct connection to defense against North Korea.

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