Monday, June 01, 2009

Oh, It's Shakable All Right

We've reassured Japan of our support in the face of North Korea's nuclear sabre rattling:

A top US official on Monday pledged his country's "unshakeable commitment" to Japan's security, amid fears North Korea is planning another long-range missile launch.

US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg was in Tokyo with Washington's top North Korea official Stephen Bosworth on a regional tour that will also take him to China, South Korea and Russia.

"I reaffirmed to the minister the United States's unshakable commitment toward our partnership and to Japan's security," Steinberg told reporters after talks with Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka.

Sure, as long as North Korea can't nuke US soil, our nuclear deterrent is solid.

But if I was Japan, the moment North Korea gets nuclear missiles is the moment that such pledges aren't comforting enough. I'd have serious doubts that Washington would sacrifice Seattle to avenge the loss of Tokyo if Pyongyang still had nuclear missiles in reserve to threaten America.

Which is why I don't understand why Peking thinks that North Korea isn't really a problem for China. If North Korea goes nuclear, Japan goes nuclear. And maybe South Korea, depending on whether they think a nuclear threat to Seoul is practically worse than the North Korean conventional threat to Seoul (of conquest or just bombardment by artillery). And then wonder about Taiwan and Australia.

But China has done nothing. Explain to me how their foreign policy is "patient" and far-sighted? Feh. It is stupid. And Japan's worry over their security in the face of North Korean nuclear missiles is Exhibit A.