Japan PM: North Korea may be capable of sarin-loaded missiles

"There is a possibility that North Korea is already capable of delivering (via missile) a warhead containing sarin", Mr Abe told a parliamentary diplomacy and defence committee, reported major Japanese media outlets. Instead, the country is gearing up for its biggest holiday of the year, the 105th anniversary of the birth of the late Kim Il Sung, the country's founder and leader Kim Jong Un's grandfather. The Guardian reports there is speculation the country could stage a missile test around the birthday celebration or on April 25, which marks the 85th anniversary of the Korean People's Army.

Just before Pyongyang's "Day of the Sun" event, Japanese PM says that North Korea may have equipped missiles with sarin nerve gas.

The Pentagon also said "North Korea probably could employ CW agents by modifying a variety of conventional munitions, including artillery and ballistic missiles".

Later in the day, chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said North Korea possesses "large stockpiles" of chemical weapons as well as industrial facilities to produce them, according to TASS.

"(The council) discussed Japan's response plan in light of that analysis and affirmed that we will give every effort to gathering information, alertness and surveillance to prepare ourselves for provocative acts by North Korea", he said.

"You can not allow a country like that to have nuclear power, nuclear weapons", Trump said. "Since tracking down the culprits is very hard, North Korea had jumped on the bandwagon of bitcoin extortion since around 2012".

North Korea, which never signed the worldwide Chemical Weapons Convention, is believed to have up to 5,000 tons of chemical weapons, according to a South Korean defense white paper, though the North has never acknowledged it. But recently, Mr Abe's ruling party has proposed that Japan should bolster its missile defence, including upgrading the capability to shoot down an enemy missile and acquiring the capacity to attack the base it was sacked from. And with U.S. -South Korean wargames ongoing, North Korean has intensified rhetoric warning it would retaliate strongly against any aggression.

While much attention is paid to Pyongyang's threats of striking the U.S. mainland with intercontinental ballistic missiles, South Korea and Japan are the most at risk of North Korean attack.

The Global Times, a Chinese state-run newspaper, wrote in an editorial that Beijing is ready to give Pyongyang security guarantees if it "complies with China's declared advice and suspends nuclear activities".

US President Donald Trump's plans for North Korea, which has conducted missile and nuclear tests in defiance of United Nations and unilateral sanctions, are as yet unclear but he has offered a show of support to the region which hosts tens of thousands of American soliders.

  • Leroy Wright