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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Friday, January 03, 2003
1:30 PM

Best idea for dealing with North Korea: Inform China that we back nuclear options for Japan and possibly South Korea. This has been suggested both by Ted Galen Carpenter in NRO and, for Japan alone, Charles Krauthammer in his column today. I doubt South Korea would go for it with their new appeasement tilt, but Japan is another matter despite their recent semi-pacifist tradition.


What to do when your hand is so poor? Play the trump. We do have one, but we dare not speak its name: a nuclear Japan. Japan cannot long tolerate a nuclear-armed North Korea. Having once lobbed a missile over Japan, North Korea could easily hit any city in Japan with a nuclear-tipped weapon. Japan does not want to live under that threat.

We should go to the Chinese and tell them plainly that if they do not join us in squeezing North Korea and thus stopping its march to go nuclear, we will endorse any Japanese attempt to create a nuclear deterrent of its own. Even better, we would sympathetically regard any request by Japan to acquire American nuclear missiles as an immediate and interim deterrent. If our nightmare is a nuclear North Korea, China's is a nuclear Japan. It's time to share the nightmares.

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