Japan PM: NKorea may be capable of sarin-loaded missiles

Kristopher Drake
April 16, 2017

In comments to The Associated Press, Vice Minister Han Song Ryol said the US was becoming "more vicious and more aggressive" under Trump and warned the president against provoking North Korea. While the north's continued development of nuclear warheads has been a top issue of concern, Abe stressed that the country already had the ability to fire a sarin-tipped missile at Japan.

As tension and speculation increases over North Korea's expected sixth nuclear bomb test, the United States on April 7 reportedly sent an aircraft to Okinawa, Japan, capable of sniffing out radioactive material following a blast, Stars and Stripes reported.

On Wednesday, Abe said that should "various unforeseen circumstances" arise, Japan would ask the U.S.to help rescue Japanese whom North Korea abducted in decades past.

Satellite imagery showed activity at North Korea's Punggye-ri testing site, a sign the secretive regime could be preparing for another nuclear test, analysts from the USA research institute 38 North wrote.

North Korea, which never signed the global Chemical Weapons Convention, is believed to have up to 5,000 tons of chemical weapons, according to a South Korean defense white paper, though the North has never acknowledged it.

At the same time, speculation is growing that Pyongyang may be close to conducting more nuclear or missile tests, despite a raft of worldwide sanctions punishing it over its nuclear weapons program.

The situation looks grim as the world waits to see if North Korea intends to carry out a sixth nuclear missile test with United States forces on the way and a president unafraid to lash out.

Members of a Japanese doomsday cult killed 12 people and made thousands ill in 1995 in simultaneous attacks with sarin nerve gas on five Tokyo rush-hour subway trains.

"The "mother of all bombs" was meant to show the power of USA forces to North Korea", said Kaneo Ogino, director at foreign exchange research firm Global-info Co in Tokyo. A National Security Council meeting discussed countermeasures in the event of an emergency, and the Foreign Ministry presented a safety bulletin urging Japanese in South Korea to stay alert to the political situation there.

North Korea has amassed "substantial amount" of chemical weapons produced at several facilities, he added, without citing sources. South Korean intelligence has additionally revealed preparations for a large military parade in the North Korean capital. The North's military might is likely to regain center stage on Saturday's anniversary, when a large-scale military parade is expected.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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