There are many reasons for which China may soon wish they had been more forceful in policiing their client state, North Korea. One of them is the now emerging military buildup in their own backyard on the part of China’s adversaries.
Two of the more noteworthy nations considering arms purchases from the US are also considered to be two of the most likely targets of a North Korean strike, South Korea and Japan. President Trump is ready to fast track billions of dollars worth of military hardware purchases. The sales to Japan would likely include the introduction of offensive weapons for the first time since the end of World War ll.
President Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he was considering allowing “a substantially increased amount of highly sophisticated” equipment for Japan and South Korea. Prior to that tweet being sent, the White House issued a request to the State Department for an assessment of how best to expedite the authorization of such sales.
One unnamed source told the Washington Times, “We have internal direction on this that came before the tweet,” that weaponry such as the Tomahawk cruise missiles capable of preemptively targeting North Korean ballistic launch sites could be authorized. The State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs orchestrates such authorizations.
A State Department spokesman confirmed to the Washington Times that officials are working at an accelerated pace to determine, “with our South Korean and Japanese partners, what systems would best assist their needs as directed by the president.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledged on Monday that his government, which has been attempting to change the Japanese constitution to allow the use of offensive force for the first time since World War ll, will seek to bolster its missile defenses by purchasing US hardware, such as the Aegis Ashore missile interceptor. North Korea provided him with a powerful persuasive argument.
China has been the aggressor in the region prior to North Korea’s recent activity, staking out a military presence on manmade islands built upon reefs owned by other nations. Now, those that can afford to do so and feel vulnerable will likely be tempted to follow Japan’s lead, making China’s own territorial aggression more risky.
Thanks to North Korea’s aggression and their own hesitation in reining in their hostile proxy, China may soon find its position as the regional bully more complex, and more subject to a military response.
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