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North Korea blasts Japan's defense white paper after Tokyo warns of threats

North Korea blasts Japan's defense white paper after Tokyo warns of threats
Japan’s military said in its annual defense white paper that North Korea’s missile technology is advancing at an “extremely rapid pace.” File photo by KCNA/EPA-EFE

July 15 (UPI) -- North Korea accused Japan of harboring ambitions of "reinvasion" after Tokyo released its annual defense white paper Tuesday that outlines threats Pyongyang poses to Japan's security.

Ri Byong Dok, identified as a researcher at Institute for Studies of Japan under North Korea's foreign ministry, said in his statement that Japan was using confrontational language in the white paper.

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Japan's description of military trends in North Korea as "grave and imminent threats" is "nothing other than an attempt to hide the identity of the main culprit that destroys peace and security in the region by making the most of 'peripheral threats'," Ri said.

Tokyo is seeking to manipulate its pacifist charter and "become a military power," Ri said.

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The North Korean statement also made references to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, claiming that his administration used Japan's defense white paper to "realize insidious political and military purposes" by mentioning of North Korea's missile threats at "every opportunity."

The statement also claimed the administration "created a sense of fear in Japanese society."

"It shows that bad habits have been passed on to the current government," Ri said, without mentioning Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga by name.

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"Japan is a country that is running about madly while promoting [North Korea] isolation tactics and frequently conducting invasive military exercises."

Japan's white defense paper states that North Korea's ballistic missiles are being developed at an "extremely rapid pace."

The report also said Kim Jong Un confirmed plans in January to upgrade the regime's nuclear and missile capabilities.

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"In addition, the military parades in October 2020 and January 2021 featured a possible new ICBM-class ballistic missile, a possible new [submarine-launched ballistic missile], and new ballistic missiles mounted on a five-axle [transporter erector launcher]," the report said.

Japan's military also warned that North Korea might already have the ability to attack Japan with nuclear weapons.

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