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更新时间:2017-8-9 19:01:17 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

North Korea’s Alarmed Neighbors Consider Deploying Deadlier Weapons

TOKYO — North Korea’s rapidly advancing nuclear program has prompted politicians in Japan and South Korea to push for the deployment of more powerful weapons, in what could lead to a regional arms race.


Some of the new capabilities under consideration in Tokyo and Seoul, Washington’s closest Asian allies, are politically contentious. Adopting them would break with decades of precedent and could require delicate diplomatic finessing. Other military options are already being rolled out or will be soon.


In a military policy review published Tuesday, the Japanese government focused on the threat from North Korea, whose leader, Kim Jong Un, has ordered more than a dozen missile tests this year. Some of those missiles have splashed into waters close to Japan.

在周二发布的一份军事政策评估中,日本政府把重点放在了来自朝鲜的威胁上。朝鲜领导人金正恩(Kim Jong Un)今年已下令进行了十多次导弹试验。其中一些导弹坠入了日本附近水域。

“North Korea’s development of ballistic missiles and its nuclear program are becoming increasingly real and imminent problems for the Asia-Pacific region including Japan, as well as the rest of the world,” the government in Tokyo said in its annual defense white paper. “It is possible that North Korea has already achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and has acquired nuclear warheads.”


That bleak assessment is likely to feed a growing debate in Japan about whether the country should acquire the means to launch pre-emptive military strikes — attacks that could destroy North Korean missiles on the ground before they are fired at Japan or other targets. Lawmakers are already pushing for such capacities; acquiring them would amount to a profound change for Japan, whose post-World War II constitution renounces war.


Japan has long limited its military to a strictly defensive role. Although successive governments have argued that, in theory, striking an enemy pre-emptively to thwart an imminent attack would be an act of self-defense, and therefore constitutional, the country has mostly avoided acquiring the kind of armaments it would need to do so. They include long-range cruise missiles, air-to-ground missiles and refueling aircraft that extend the range of fighter jets.


Some senior officials are now arguing that Japan should acquire such weapons.


“North Korea’s missile launches have escalated tensions, both in terms of quality and quantity,” Itsunori Onodera, Japan’s new defense minister, said Friday, a day after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe installed him in the post in a Cabinet reshuffle. “I would like to study if our current missile defense is sufficient.”

“朝鲜的导弹发射加剧了紧张局势,不管是从质量上还是数量上来说,”日本新任防卫大臣小野寺五典(Itsunori Onodera)在周五说。一天前,他在日本首相安倍晋三(Shinzo Abe)重组内阁时被正式任命。“我想研究一下我们目前的导弹防御够不够。”

In March, Onodera led a committee of lawmakers from the governing Liberal Democratic Party in recommending that Japan consider acquiring the ability to carry out pre-emptive strikes. His views could be reflected in an updated five-year military strategy that is to be published by the Defense Ministry next year.

3月,小野寺五典率领一个由执政党自民党(Liberal Democratic Party)议员组成的委员会,建议日本考虑掌握先制打击的能力。他的观点可能会反映在修订后的五年军事战略中。该战略将由防卫省在明年公布。

Japan has already committed to buying advanced F-35 fighter planes, and it is shopping for an upgraded land-based missile defense system to improve its chances of shooting down any incoming North Korean missiles.


North Korea escalated its standoff with the United States and other nations Tuesday, warning that it would take unspecified “physical action” in retaliation for new sanctions the United Nations Security Council adopted over the weekend.


Officials and analysts say they still doubt that North Korea has mastered all the technologies needed to deliver a nuclear payload on an intercontinental ballistic missile. But the country’s latest ICBM test, conducted on July 28, was nonetheless alarming, demonstrating that its missiles now have a potential range that could extend to much of the continental United States.


Even more than Japan, South Korea is working to build its monitoring and striking abilities, including with radars and remote-controlled reconnaissance planes to track and neutralize North Korean missiles in pre-emptive attacks.


After the North’s ICBM tests, South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, reversed his decision to suspend the deployment of an advanced American missile defense system. He also asked the United States to let the South build more powerful ballistic missiles, a move that would require Washington’s approval under the terms of a bilateral treaty.

在朝鲜的洲际弹道导弹试验过后,韩国新任总统文在寅(Moon Jae-in)改变了暂停部署先进的美国导弹防御系统的决定。他还请求美国允许韩国制造更强大的弹道导弹。根据一份双边条约的条款,此举须得到华盛顿的批准。

Some opinion surveys have indicated that most South Koreans favor their country developing nuclear weapons of its own, to counter the North’s, though Moon opposes the idea.


Hideshi Takesada, a specialist on defense issues at the Institute of World Studies at Takushoku University in Tokyo, said that if South Korea acquired nuclear weapons, Japan might rethink its long-standing aversion to them — despite its traumatic experiences at the end of World War II, when American atomic bombs devastated the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

东京拓殖大学海外事情研究所(Institute of World Studies at Takushoku University)的防务问题专家武贞秀士(Hideshi Takesada)说,如果韩国有了核武器,日本可能会重新考虑自己长期以来对核武器的回避——尽管日本在二战末期有过痛苦的经历,当时美国的原子弹摧毁了广岛和长崎两座城市。

“If South Korea went nuclear, that debate would happen in Japan, too,” Takesada said.


Takesada said that Abe would have to tread carefully on the issue. Opposition to his goal of undoing the constitution’s restrictions on the military has contributed to a recent slide in his approval ratings. And extending Japan’s military reach could antagonize not only North Korea but also the South, where distrust of Japan, the Korean Peninsula’s former colonial occupier, remains entrenched.


Despite such risks, Takesada said, Japan should acquire the capacity for pre-emptive strikes, if only for its potential deterrent effect. An unsettled North Korea policy in Washington under President Donald Trump, he added, made maximizing Japan’s own capacities more urgent.


“Short of getting nuclear weapons, which very few Japanese support, this is the best conventional way to make Kim Jong Un think twice about attacking,” he said.