Japan warns of greater threat from North Korea in upcoming defence white paper, says Nikkei

The successful test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed location on July 4, 2017.
The successful test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed location on July 4, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO - The threat from North Korea is rising to a new level as the country makes headway in its missile and nuclear ambitions, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

Citing the draft of a white paper on defence for 2017, the Nikkei said the Japanese government has analysed Pyongyang's ballistic missile development and concluded that it has attained four characteristics.

The North's missiles now cover longer distances, the method from which the missiles are launched have become more varied, its so-called saturation attack has grown more sophisticated, and the country continues to develop its missile and nuclear programme in secrecy, according to the white paper, which will be drawn up in early August.

For instance, a ballistic missile that North Korea launched in May reached an altitude of more than 2,000km, said the Nikkei.

The missile was fired on a lofted trajectory, which would make interception more difficult than if it were flown on a standard trajectory, the Nikkei added.

The draft white paper also touched on China. It noted that Beijing has increased its defence budget by about threefold in 10 years.