Getting China’s attention: A nuclear-armed Japanese and South Korean alliance

A Japanese sailor and ROK Marine.
A Japanese sailor and ROK Marine.

As China rattles sabers over its newly claimed airspace in the East China Sea directly over Japanese sovereign soil, as reported by the Israeli news portal Arutz Sheva on Dec. 2, 2013, one thing that many international watchers agree would rattle China’s cage would be a militarily-allied and nuclear-armed Japan and Republic of Korea (ROK).

Especially a nuclear Japan and ROK independent of any U.S. military control.

Tensions are still running high since China claimed international airspace over Japan’s  Senkaku Islands, the southernmost of the 3,000 islands comprising the Japanese archipelago.

Never known as historical allies, Japan and Korea have been united with the U.S. against China since the Communist victory over the Nationalists in 1949.

ROK Marine in the attack mode.
ROK Marine in the attack mode.

Japanese and ROK aircraft have also joined with US Air Force warplanes in testing China’s resolve as all three nations ordered aircraft to fly in the airspace the allies claim are still in an international status.

 A Case for Nukes…

The US government-ran Voice of America (VOA) reported this past in February that the chorus in both Japan and the ROK are calling for their own nuclear arsenals.

South Korean lawmaker Chung Mong-joon called for the nation to develop its own nuclear weapons in the wake of the Beijing-allied North Koreans racing at breakneck speed on their own nuclear program.

Far from considered a wacko bird on the periphery of Korean politics, Chung is a member in good standing with the governing Saenuri (New Frontier) party.

He also happens to be the nation’s “wealthiest lawmaker through his controlling shares in the Hyundai Heavy Industries group.”

Speaking before the National Assembly, the Republic’s version of the U.S. Congress, Chung compared North Korea to “’a gangster in the neighborhood buying a brand-new machine gun’ and trying to defend oneself with merely a pebble.”

Japan Weighs In…

As cited by VOA, Tokyo Prefecture’s former four-term governor “Shintaro Ishihara, now a member of parliament, and co-leader of the Japan Restoration Party, has openly stated his country should have nuclear bombs.”

Other than Ishihara, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe has also publicly stated that Japan should revise “Article 9 of the constitution which prohibits Japan from maintaining a war potential.”

Long Memories and Deep Wounds…

A grim Japanese soldier during field training.
A grim Japanese soldier during field training.

The former Empire of Japan occupied the Korean peninsula from 1910-1945 in what could charitably be described as oppressive. 

Despite shared enemies in Russia, China and North Korea, the ROK and the State of Japan have yet to agree regarding a mutual defense treaty.

However, even before China’s recent incursion into both international and Japanese airspace, a South Korean official hinted that the two nations could eventually bind together against a military alliance.

The ROK’s First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kyou Hyun gave a wink and a nod earlier last month on “tacit approval of Japan’s exercising its right of collective self-defense” may result in Japanese troops on South Korean soil fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with ROK and American troops against a common enemy.