Japan warns North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme has ‘advanced considerably’

Japan said it was conceivable that the regime has made progress on wedding a missile with a miniaturised nuclear warhead

Japan has warned that security threats from Northern korean atomic weapon has reached a new stage now that it appears to have developed an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the US mainland.

In its defence white paper, Japans government told Pyongyangs weapons programme had advanced substantially, despite years of international sanctions designed to stall its ability to develop long-range weapons and nuclear warheads.

While many experts believe the North is several years away from being able to marry a missile with a miniaturised nuclear warhead, Japan said it was conceivable that the regime had made progress on this front.

The 563 -page white paper, is confirmed by Japans cabinet on Tuesday morning, was published less than two weeks after North Korea test-fired its second ICBM, which US experts have said may be able to reach most of the continental United States.
Since last year, when( North Korea) forcibly implemented two nuclear tests and more than 20 ballistic missile launches, the security threats have entered a new stage, the report said.

That missile was fired at an extremely lofted slant and landed about 200 kilometers( 120 miles) off Japans northernmost island of Hokkaido.

The report was unclear, however, on whether North Korea had acquired the technological know-how to fire a nuclear-tipped rocket that would be able to re-enter globes atmosphere intact, according to Kyodo news.

The report also cited Pyongyangs attempts to improve its ability to conduct a surprise attack utilizing solid-fuel weapons, which can be prepared for launch in less day than liquid-fueled rockets and are therefore harder to detect.

The risk that North Korea will deploy nuclear-tipped missiles encompassing Japanese province will grow as period pass, it warned.

Japan also raised concerns over Chinas increasingly assertive actions in the regions air and seas and the lack of transparency over its defence spending, which has tripled over the past decade.

The paper voiced particularly concern about Chinese naval activity near the disputed Senkaku/ Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea.

It pointed out that Japan had scrambled a record number of airplanes in the 12 months to March this year in response to Chinese aircraft flying close to Japanese airspace.

There is a possibility that their naval activities, as well as air force activities, will pick up pace in the Sea of Japan from now on, the report said. We need to keep a close eye on the Chinese navys activity.

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