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With Trump as USA President Asia’s Nuclear Crisis Expands

With Trump, Asia’s Nuclear Crisis Expands
Next to North Korea and fearing U.S. abandonment, South Korea and Japan weigh their own options, WSJ,  By DAVID FEITH Nov. 11, 2016 Seoul

The nuclear crisis in Northeast Asia was bound to be one of the most dangerous challenges facing the next U.S. president, no matter who won on Tuesday. With Donald Trump’s surprise victory, though, it could metastasize in dramatic ways: If you thought North Korea’s nuclear march was disconcerting, consider that South Korea and Japan may now pursue nuclear programs of their own, raising the risks and stakes of war not only with North Korea but China too…….

It’s possible Mr. Trump will drop his enthusiasm for South Korean and Japanese nuclearization upon entering the Oval Office. His campaign advisers tended to ignore the subject in public statements, likely a reflection of the decades-old bipartisan consensus against nuclear proliferation in Washington. But as with other issues, the approach of President Trump will depend on who he brings into the White House for advice, and whether he listens to them……..

South Korea’s civilian nuclear infrastructure—24 plants providing 30% of the country’s energy—could be used to produce 5,000 bombs worth of fissile material, Mr. Cheong says, dwarfing Pyongyang’s capability. Embracing the necessary technologies, including plutonium reprocessing, could be “the game-changer that will enable South Korea to manage North Korean problems.”………

Several potential candidates in South Korea’s looming presidential election back nuclearization, including former National Assembly floor leader Won Yoo-cheol and Nam Kyung-pil, governor of the country’s most populous province. Mr. Cheong, who acknowledges that “experts and technocrats have tended to be against going nuclear,” says that officials have privately expressed greater interest since Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test in September. Once Pyongyang completes a hydrogen bomb, he says, “many experts will switch their views.”

Then there’s Donald Trump. If he sticks to supporting South Korean and Japanese nuclearization, he might as well hold a bonfire of traditional U.S. nonproliferation dogmas on the White House lawn.

November 12, 2016 - Posted by | politics international, USA elections 2016, weapons and war

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