Asan Plenum

The North Korean Foreign Ministry said in its recent statement, “We are no longer be bound by the February bilateral agreement with the United States. We have thus become able to take necessary retaliatory measures, free from the agreement.” Although they have not clarified what “necessary retaliatory measures” are, the possibility of Pyongyang’s launching out on a third nuclear test cannot be counted out. If North Koreans conducted the nuclear test, it may allow them to manufacture miniaturized nuclear warheads to mount on short-, medium-, intermediate and long-range ballistic missiles. This implies that they are going to have “nuclear missiles” satisfactory enough to target South Korea and Japan. Suppose such a situation came true, Japan would try to intensity its “missile defense” and South Korea, on the other hand, would attempt to strengthen its “retaliatory capabilities.” Moreover, both Japan and South Korea would call Washington for reinforcing the extended deterrence of the United States. And, those responses by Japan, South Korea, and the United States will invoke North Korea’s strong repellence. Consequently, military tension in Northeast Asia will be running high.