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JAPANESE Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed to “drastically strengthen our defence capabilities” today following a North Korean ballistic missile launch in the Sea of Japan.
South Korean officials said they believed the missile had been launched from a submarine. Pyongyang’s showcasing its latest military technology is believed to be a reaction to stalled talks over easing US sanctions and to the rapidly growing Western military presence in the Far East, with the US enrolling Japan in the four-nation “Quad” alongside itself, India and Australia to target China.
China said tensions on the Korean peninsula were at a “critical stage” and urged the US to resume talks.
The US’s withdrawal from arms limitation treaties with Russia and deployment of lower-yield “tactical” nuclear missiles on its submarine fleet has helped fuel a new global arms race.
A Chinese test of what Western analysts called a “hypersonic missile” in August took US intelligence by surprise, with a rocket orbiting the globe before releasing a component.
A Financial Times report quoted an anonymous US source as declaring: “We have no idea how they did this.”
China said it had tested reusable spacecraft for peaceful purposes and that the US was simply alarmed that it had underestimated Chinese space technology.
It would only divert its space capabilities to military purposes if forced to by the US militarisation of space, it added.
In a further sign of the deepening new cold war, Chinese and Russian warships launched their first “joint maritime patrol” of the Pacific on Monday, a retort to the deployment of US vessels and a British aircraft carrier fleet to the China seas.
Russia also closed its diplomatic mission to Nato on Monday, saying the US-led alliance “isn’t interested in any kind of equal dialogue.”
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