North Korea on Sunday fiercely criticised South Korea, the United States, and Japan as the three nations came together to boost their trilateral military ties against the North's nuclear and missile threats.
Pyeongyang warned the move calls for the regime to reinforce its own military capability, amid weeks of speculation by experts that it is in fact gearing up for its seventh nuclear test.
We discuss the latest developments with Dr. Bruce Bennett,Policy Analyst at RAND Corporation and
KIM Jung, Professor at theUniversity of North Korean Studies.
<1. Dr. Bennett: North Korea says that the trilateral cooperation between Seoul, Washington and Tokyo materialises Americas plan for an 'Asian NATO'. Do you think the regime will use this as a mandate for scaling up provocations?>
<2. Prof. Kim: According to Daily NK, top Workers Party officials in the North discussed targeting the Yongsan presidential office, saying the regime could hit it within three minutes. Does it have the capability to do that?>
<3. Prof. Kim: When North Korea conducts its seventh nuclear test, it may be able to produce small tactical warheads that could be loaded on a short-range ballistic missile system. The KN-23 with a 600-kilometer shooting range can strike any part of South Korea. Would our current missile defence systems work effectively against this kind of threat?>
<4.Dr. Bennett: Some still question the promise of extended deterrence for U.S. allies? With the redeployment of tactical weapons to Korea seemingly out of the question, what are other options available? Would a system like the European Phased Adaptive Approach Missile Defense be a plausible option?>
<5. Prof. Kim: Some still question the promise of extended deterrence for U.S. allies. Is this still an issue for South Korea and Japan? With the redeployment of tactical weapons seemingly out of the question, what are other options available?>
<6. Prof. Kim: In Madrid, Fumio Kishida floated the idea of holding a trilateral military drill during a three-way summit with Seoul and Washington. Is that likely to happen, or are there still concerns about Japans militarization? What will be the next steps for Seoul, Tokyo and Washington in addressing the N. Korea threat?>
<7. Dr. Bennett: Are you positive about the prospects for trilateral cooperation between Seoul, Washington and Tokyo? It seems there are still historical issues, and upper house elections in Japan that are slowing down progress in improving S. Korea-Japan ties but is the mood in Tokyo changing?>
That wasDr. Bruce Bennett, Policy Analyst / RAND Corporation andKIM Jung, Professor at the University of North Korean Studies. Thank you for your time today.