During a break at an economic summit Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan motions for Korean President Moon Jae-in to join him in a conference room where President Vladimir Putin arises and says, through several interpreters, “Please sit down.”
The three leaders sit at a small dark wooden table.
“North Korea’s headed toward a very bad place,” Abe says.
“And we could be in a place far worse before they get there,” says Moon.
“Gentlemen, North Korea’s recent underground nuclear explosion is definitely a provocation, but we must control our emotions,” Putin says.
“That blast and the ballistic missile over our heads were warnings for Japan, South Korea, and the United States,” Abe says. “I therefore doubt, President Putin, that you’d be so calm if the threat had been aimed at you.”
“We need to acknowledge that sanctions aren’t working and strive for a political solution,” says Putin.
“In that regard, President Putin,” Moon says, “we have for you a copy in Russian of the new Japanese and South Korean position regarding the renegade kingdom and our future defensive steps. You’re free to release it when we leave this room, for as we speak it’s now being disseminated worldwide.”
Putin pushes both palms on the table and raises his voice, “Why have you done this without consulting me?”
“As Prime Minister Abe indicated, your nation isn’t in the crosshairs. Please read.”
In the six official languages of the United Nations, this document proclaims: “After long and quite difficult consultations about the strategic and technical shortcomings of our two nations relative to the growing nuclear might of the Hermit Kingdom, Japan and South Korea have decided to develop forthwith our own independent nuclear arsenals to deter Kim Jong Un, an unqualified inheritor of power whom we, and most of the world, view as egotistical and unstable. We reluctantly take this bold step since our conventional weapons, though formidable, are capable only of destroying surface structures and insufficient for busting the bunkers, caves, and other subterranean orifices where North Koreans hide not merely nuclear weapons but vast inventories of chemical and biological weapons. Furthermore, we assume this grave responsibility, which with hindsight we should have earlier undertaken, because we cannot forever depend on the United States to extend its nuclear umbrella over our vulnerable lands. The U.S. is itself daily more susceptible to North Korean nuclear terror, and we can help them and at the same time help ourselves, and we must.
“In an accelerated first phase we each plan to develop, test, and deploy at least thirty (primarily mobile) ballistic missiles carrying warheads more powerful than the one-hundred-twenty kiloton device that recently precipitated an earthquake in North Korea. Furthermore, we shall independently, but in full coordination, build fleets of submarines that fire precise nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. We will also arm our jets with bombs and air to surface missiles of comparable formidability. We take these urgent and mandatory steps not to threaten any nation but to deter a hidebound and politically deformed nation from being tempted to hurl itself, East Asia, and indeed the world into Armageddon.”
“Haven’t you first discussed this with China?” Putin asks.
President Abe stands and says, “We don’t think China could change North Korea’s behavior, and we’re certain it hasn’t really been trying to.”