The Words of the Kato Family

Diplomats in Tokyo Discuss North Korea's Nuclear Developments

Shigenari Kato
July 2, 2014

Tokyo, Japan -- Right after the Japan-North Korea government-level consultations held in Beijing on July 1 and the missile firing by the North on June 29, UPF-Japan organized the 21st Peace Diplomats Forum on the theme, "North Korea's Nuclear and Missile Developments and their Impact on the World."

The forum held on July 2, 2014, in Tokyo attracted a number of leaders from various fields in Japan with the attendance of over 50 participants, including 27 senior diplomats from 23 embassies in Tokyo and several major Japanese media organizations.

The keynote speech was given by an expert on North Korea, Amb. Tetsuya Endo, who served as Ambassador to the Japan-North Korea Normalization Talks and the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO).

Amb. Endo, in his speech, indicated several North Korea's motivations for developing nuclear capabilities, which combine military and political/diplomatic motivations, as follows; 1) to regain South-North military balance, 2) to secure deterrent capacity against the USA, 3) to secure the support of the military for maintaining the whole regime, 4) to earn foreign currency through exports, and 5) to obtain concessions through brinkmanship.

He mentioned some measures to respond to North Korea's nuclear and missile threats. Introducing an option for Japan to go nuclear, which some Japanese argue for, he strongly countered this idea and said, "Going nuclear is detrimental and suicidal for Japan both economically and diplomatically. It brings all pain and no gain to Japan."

Then, he suggested some maneuvers to strengthen missile defense system and the US nuclear umbrella.

He also mentioned some other ways to respond to the threats, such as a surgical strike against North Korea and strengthening sanctions against the North. However, he is skeptical of the both ways since it is not easy to identify the exact location of the uranium-enrichment facility for a surgical strike, and China, the largest trading nation of the North, is reluctant to strengthen sanctions against the North.

Lastly, he pointed out some diplomatic measures to reduce threats from the North, and the forum was closed with an appreciative discussion. 

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