Asia Reacts to Donald Trump's Comments on Possible Nuclear Armament of Japan and South Korea

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On March 28, 2016 during an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Republican front-runner Donald Trump suggested that Japan and South Korea should be allowed to develop their own nuclear weapons to counteract threats in the Asia-Pacific and take more responsibility for their own security since, according to Trump, they do not pay the United States enough for supplying that security.

Click on a country to jump down to its specific reactions: Australia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea

To view additional topics in the Asia Reacts to... series, scroll down or click here



"'[I]t's unsettling for the Asia-Pacific, the Indo-Pacific, and the wider world for one of the leading US candidates to speak so blithely, so erratically, so carelessly about ripping up some of the deepest security foundations of the modern world." 


"Trump's inflammatory rhetoric has helped to take these fears to the next level, with some opponents of [Prime Minister] Abe's defense reforms, detecting, they believe the germ of some secret conspiracy with the US to turn Japan into a nuclear-weapon state [...] But given the need to reassure the Japanese public that Abe's reforms are truly what he says they are- that is, modest changes that will allow Japan to deepen its alliance ties - Trump's intervention is the height of irresponsibility." 

Reuters Corporate Survey in early April finds majority of Japanese businesses concerned about Japan's security under a potential Trump administration. 

"Abandonment of U.S. leadership in Asia cannot make America great again; instead it is only likely to weaken U.S. leadership [... and] damage the main instruments that have provided the U.S. with its strategic advantage." 

"Trump has questioned the validity of the current Japan-U.S. alliance. We may already need to start debate on whether we should keep staying away from nuclear weapons or have them as a deterrent." - Ichiro Matsui, Governor of Osaka, Japan 


Deputy-Director General of North Korea's Institute of International Studies calls Donald Trump's remarks regarding the arming of Japan and South Korea with nuclear weapons "illogical" and a "double standard."


"But the fact that the subject of South Korea's possible nuclear armament was discussed in the U.S. Congress is not to be taken lightly. It could suggest that skepticism is spreading in the U.S. over its nuclear umbrella policy rather than that Washington wants Seoul to strengthen its defenses." 

Korean newspaper editorial praises incoming US Forces of Korea (USFK) commander General Vincent Brooks for his knowledge of realities on the ground and condemning Donald Trump's comments on the US-Korea alliance. 

US Congressional Research Service (CRS) says South Korea is debating internally about developing its own nuclear weapons in light of North Korean threat and skepticism about US security commitments. 

"We are dumbfounded at such myopic views of a leading candidate in the U.S. presidential race who tries to approach such critical issues only from the perspective of expenses. Such attitudes can aggravate the distrust and discontent of the world about Uncle Sam." 

Additional Topics in the Asia Reacts to... Series

Nominations of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter's Trip to India and the Philippines
Secretary of State John Kerry's Historic Visit to Hiroshima
Donald Trump's First Foreign Policy Speech
 President Barack Obama's First Visit to Vietnam
President Barack Obama's Historic Visit to Hiroshima 
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Fourth Visit to the United States
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Deployment
 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions
President Barack Obama's Final Trip to Asia
First Presidential Debate of the 2016 US Election 
 Second Presidential Debate of the 2016 US Election
Final Presidential Debate of the 2016 US Election
Election of Donald Trump as 45th President of the United States 
 President-Elect Donald Trump's Talks with Asian Leaders
The Inauguration of Donald J. Trump
President Donald Trump's Executive Order on the Trans-Pacific Partnership  
 US Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord
 President Donald Trump's First Visit to Asia

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