Abe: Japan planning for refugees in event of Korean crisis

Apr 18, 2017, 02:02
Abe: Japan planning for refugees in event of Korean crisis

North Korea may already have the capability to deliver missiles equipped with sarin nerve agent, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday.

"There is a possibility that North Korea already has a capability to deliver missiles with sarin as warheads", Abe told a parliamentary session.

In 1995, members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult released sarin gas in the Tokyo subway that led to the deaths of 13 people and sickened more than 5,500 commuters. But the same officials note the USA does not have "certainty" on what chemical weapons the North possesses, in what quantities, or whether their chemicals are weaponized, because the North continues to be a "difficult intelligence target".

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North Korea marks the 105th anniversary of the birth of the state's founder Kim Il Sung on Saturday.

Originally conceived as a pesticide, sarin was used by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime to gas thousands of Kurds in the northern town of Halabja in 1988. Outwardly, there are few signs of concern in North Korea despite the political back and forth.

North Korea's vice foreign minister on Friday blamed President Donald Trump for building up a "vicious cycle" of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, saying that his "aggressive" tweets were "making trouble".

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North Korea last month fired four ballistic missiles that flew about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), with three of them landing in waters that Japan claims as its exclusive economic zone. Now, the USA has found satellite images that show a high level of activity around the suspected test site.

US-based 38 North, which monitors the secretive communist state, said satellite images taken on Wednesday showed the base was "primed and ready". North Korea relies mainly on domestic coal, but oil is used by the military as well as in transport and agriculture. "If they are unable to do so, the U.S., with its allies, will!"

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