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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 August 17 - 23  > PM Abe is totally obsessed with nuclear deterrence
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2016 August 17 - 23 [PEACE]
column 

PM Abe is totally obsessed with nuclear deterrence

August 18, 2016
Akahata ‘current’ column

In September 1990, Soviet Union Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze informed his North Korean counterpart, Kim Yong-nam, about a plan to build diplomatic relations with South Korea. In response, Kim told Shevardnadze about the nation’s policy of developing nuclear weapons, noting that North Korea would be under no obligation to refrain from producing atomic weapons if the alliance between Moscow and Pyongyang came to an end.

The Korean Peninsula has been under a flag of truce since 1953. In terms of international law, North Korea is still at war with South Korea backed by the United States. The North has accelerated its nuclear development, claiming that it is essential to counter U.S. nuclear superiority.

The Washington Post recently reported that Japan’s Prime Minister Abe Shinzo conveyed to Washington his opinion opposing President Barack Obama’s potential declaration of a “no first use” nuclear-weapons policy. According to the daily, PM Abe insists that such a policy change will weaken deterrence against countries like North Korea. This is the same argument Pyongyang uses to justify its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea’s behavior has increased conflicts, distrust, and tensions in East Asia. The joint statement of the six-party talks on North Korean nuclear issues, which was released in September 2005, presented a way to settle various regional matters, including abandonment of Pyongyang’s nuclear policy, normalization of diplomatic relations between the North and Japan as well as the U.S., and promotion of security cooperation in Northeast Asia.

Lee Soo-hyuk, Seoul’s first chief delegate at the six-party talks, recently said that restarting the multilateral talks is the only effective means available to persuade Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program.

If a nuclear deterrent policy does not work, it will lead to a nuclear war. As the prime minister of the sole nation which suffered atomic bombings, Abe should do away with his outdated notion of nuclear retaliation.
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