Japan to sign historic bilateral military agreement with South Korea: N. Korea issues more threats against Japan

Wednesday, April 17, 2013
By Paul Martin

April 17, 2013

JAPAN – Koro Bessho, the Japanese ambassador to Seoul, revealed on Wednesday that Japan is ready to sign a bilateral military intelligence agreement with South Korea “at any time.” The ambassador is urging the South Korean government to sign the pact to improve both countries’ security measures in light of the increasingly warlike threats coming from North Korea. “Japan is willing to sign the military intelligence-sharing pact with South Korea at any time,” Bessho said during a press conference in Seoul, adding that the pact is sure to be “mutually beneficial to both South Korea and Japan.” Bessho said that North Korea’s threats should convince Seoul that there is a need for closer coordination between allies Japan, South Korea, and the United States. “While the South Korea-U.S. alliance and the Japan-U.S. alliance are solid, a defense cooperation between South Korea and Japan is still vulnerable,” Bessho said. The ambassador also pointed out that if ever a shooting war breaks out in the Korean peninsula, Japan could be of service to both Korean and U.S. forces. The U.S. has 28,500 troops in South Korea and about 50,000 American troops in Japan. “In case of emergency, most U.S. military personnel and assets should be en route to Japan to go to the Korean Peninsula,” he said. “I think Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. 7th Fleet would work together to secure sea routes.” The signing of the intelligence-sharing treaty was postponed last July as the South Koreans showed discontent towards the agreement. “Although it is a sensitive issue, I hope the two nations to forge a close cooperation in the field of defense,” the Japanese ambassador said. If the treaty is signed, it will be the first-ever military pact between the two disputing nations. Bessho admitted that because of historical and territorial issues, there is “no simple solution” to improving relations between South Korea and Japan. Foremost on the list of these will be the Takeshima/Dokdo islands dispute, a territory that lies closer to South Korea but is also claimed by Japan. South Korea administers the territory, keeping a police force on the islets. -Japan Daily Press

N. Korea threatens to nuke Tokyo: Pyongyang issued a warning to Tokyo that it if doesn’t stop its “hostile posture” against North Korea, Japan will be the main target if they push through with the threatened war in the Korean peninsula. If Japan also tries to intercept their test missiles, they will likewise carry out a nuclear strike against their East Asian neighbor’s capital city. Japan announced on Friday that the Patriot missile interceptor batteries, originally set to be stationed on March 2015, will be deployed permanently later this month on the island of Okinawa, where 50,000 US military personnel are currently stationed. Earlier this week, they also announced the deployment of several Patriot Advance Capability-3 missile interceptors in strategic places, including key military units in Tokyo. They have orders to shoot down any North Korean missiles that will be fired on Japanese territory. News of North Korean mid-range missile tests continue to spread from intelligence reports from Seoul, Tokyo and Washington. If the Musudan missile, with its range of 1,800 to 2,180 miles is indeed launched from the east coast, it could hit the Japanese mainland, the island of Okinawa, and Guam, a US territory. The US said last week it is positioning the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) in Guam in preparation for any North Korean attack. US Secretary of State John Kerry is currently in South Korea for a four-day tour of East Asia and he reiterated that the international community is united in standing against North Korea as a nuclear power and warned the reclusive state that any missile test would be a big mistake. It was when they conducted a third nuclear test in February that the United Nations was spurred to impose additional sanctions on North Korea. In response, they threatened a nuclear war against the US and its allies and declared a “state of war” against South Korea by the end of March. –JDP

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