Latest Stories

Lawmaker: North Korea nukes could spark Asia arms race

WASHINGTON—North Korea’s development of a nuclear weapon risks provoking an atomic arms race in East Asia, a senior Republican lawmaker warned Wednesday.

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce said South Korea, Japan and Taiwan might seek nuclear weapons if Pyongyang realizes its ambition to miniaturize nuclear warhead it can mount on a missile.

He said this was likely weighing heavily on the mind of China, which was losing patience with its North Korean ally after it ignored warnings not to conduct its latest nuclear test.

The Feb. 12 underground explosion, the North’s third, followed a successful long-range rocket launch in December, and drew the stiffest international sanctions yet against the North, with China’s support.

Royce said the North’s young leader, Kim Jong Un, was aggressive and had shown “flagrant disregard” for Beijing’s counsel, which had caused consternation in China as it weighed the consequences.

“It’s clear that the danger of a nuclear arms race in East Asia is very real,” Royce told The Associated Press after speaking on Asia policy at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank.

South Korea, Japan and Taiwan all have civilian nuclear programs but have eschewed weapons development. The United States, which recently announced steps to boost its own missile defense system against the North Korean threat, provides the protection of its nuclear deterrent to both Seoul and Tokyo.

Royce also voiced concern about cooperation between North Korea and Iran, saying they are known to have shared missile technology and that cooperation may extend into the nuclear realm.

“I think everyone suspects it is (going on) and I would be surprised if it were not, given the other transfers that have occurred between North Korea and Iran,” he said.

Royce plans to introduce bipartisan legislation in the coming weeks for extra US sanctions along the lines of sanctions applied by the George W. Bush administration against a Macau-based bank holding $25 million in North Korean funds. He said that proved highly effective in 2005 but was lifted prematurely.

He said similar legislation now could cut out of the international banking system and the US market any financial institution that deals in hard currency with the Pyongyang regime.

“That’s not a trade-off any financial institution would want to contemplate,” Royce said.

Democratic support for such a bill would pressure the Obama administration, which is likely reluctant to apply unilateral sanctions that would alienate China. Beijing is Pyongyang’s chief benefactor and has been lax in its implementation of past UN sanctions, but in recent months has taken a tougher diplomatic stance against the North.

Royce, who represents a California district with many Asian-American constituents, is active in Asia policy. The House panel he chairs does not set U.S. foreign policy but can influence it through oversight and legislative actions.

Royce voiced concern Wednesday about rising nationalism in Asia and security threats posed by territorial disputes. He advocated greater US focus on promoting economic prosperity to arrest that trend, and progress on an investment treaty with India and a similar pact with Taiwan.—Matthew Pennington


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: arms race , North korea , US

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima


  • Lacson eyes P106-B ‘Yolanda’ rehab masterplan
  • What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  • Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  • 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  • Napoles surgery in Makati hospital successful
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces; Painters repulse Bolts
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Visiting chefs from Denmark get creative with ‘ube,’ ‘ buko,’ ‘calamansi,’ mangoes
  • Salted baked potatoes
  • A first in a mall: Authentic Greek yogurt–made fresh in front of diners
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • Cost-recovery provisions for affected gencos urged
  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Philippine Airlines to stop shipment of shark fins
  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  • Believe it or not: Filipinos love US more than Yanks
  • Marketplace