U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, left, shakes hands with Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki prior to their talks at the prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2006. Rice urged the swift and effective implementation of sanctions against North Korea on Wednesday, arguing that the United States had no desire to escalate the crisis over Pyongyang’s nuclear test.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday the United States is ready to use the “full range” of its military might to defend Japan in light of North Korea’s nuclear weapons test, and her Japanese counterpart drew a firm line against developing a Japanese bomb.
The United States is concerned that Japan, South Korea or perhaps Taiwan may want to develop their own nuclear weapons programs to counter the threat from North Korea. Such moves would anger China, which already has nuclear weapons, and raise tensions in the region.
Part of Rice’s assignment on this week’s hastily arranged trip to China, Russia, Japan and South Korea is to lessen the temptation to develop separate national nuclear programs by reaffirming the U.S. intention to defend the nations most at risk.
In Japan, Rice said she reaffirmed President Bush’s pledge, made the day of the North’s test last week, “that the United States has the will and the capability to meet the full range â€” and I underscore the full range â€” of its deterrent and security commitments to Japan,” Rice said following discussions with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso.
Proliferation of nuclear weapons programs is not in the interests of these Asian countries. China is the BIG DOG in the area and have plenty of NUKES. An arms race of nuclear material does not make the region or world a safer place.
However, Japan and Taiwan are understandably alarmed at preemptive nuclear attacks from China via North Korea – or from North Korea alone.
This pledge of mutual defense is appropriate and timely.
Asian nations MUST now squeeze Kim Jong-Il with United Nations sanctions, force North Korea back to the 6-party talks and negotiate a stand-down of North Korea’s nuclear program – as North Korea has promised.
An elderly Chinese woman gestures as she chats with another near the flags of China and North Korea on the waterfront of Dandong in northeast China, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2006. In 1950 China sends hundreds of thousands of ‘volunteers’ to the aid of North Korea which was nearly defeated by a combined force of United Nations, South Korean and U.S. forces. The war ended in a truce in 1953 and China had an estimated 945,000 dead and wounded, North Korea 522,00.