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Japan Could Go Nuclear ‘Virtually Overnight’ Joe Biden Tells Chinese President

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This undated picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on June 23, 2016 shows a test launch of the surface-to-surface medium long-range strategic ballistic missile Hwasong-10 at an undisclosed location in North Korea.The Musudan — also known as the Hwasong-10 — has a theoretical range of anywhere between 2,500 and 4,000 kilometres (1,550 to 2,500 miles).

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, never one for a loss of words, told Chinese President Xi Jinping that Japan has the capacity to acquire nuclear weapons “virtually overnight.”

Biden made his disclosure while giving a speech at a Public Broadcasting Service program aired on Monday. Biden said he had urged Xi to exert influence on North Korea so it will abandon its missile and nuclear weapons developments.

Referring to North Korea’s recent nuclear test and missile launches in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, Biden said that if China and the U.S. fail to take effective action against North Korea, “What happens if Japan, who could go nuclear tomorrow? They have the capacity to do it virtually overnight.” Biden did not say when his conversation with Xi took place.

Biden said that China had the single greatest ability to influence North Korea, adding that North Korea is building nuclear weapons that can strike as far away the U.S. mainland.

“And I say, so we’re going to move up our defense system,” the vice president added, referring to the U.S. plan to deploy THADD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense), an advanced missile interception system, in South Korea.

Biden quoted Xi as saying, “Wait a minute, my military thinks you’re going to try to circle us.”  Earlier this month China said that deploying THADD infringes on China’s strategic interests. 

The fact that Japan can easily develop nuclear weapons, however, isn’t the issue but the fact that Biden chose to tell Xi this is worthy of note, both in the context of North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and given Biden’s history of frequently making gaffes.

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June 26, 2016 - Posted by | Japan | ,

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