Japan PM Fumio Kishida Vows to Bolster Defense Amid China, North Korea Threats

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed to bolster Japan’s Self-Defense Force to cope with security threats posed by China and North Korea, renewing his pledge to consider “all options,” including acquiring enemy base strike capability. Japan’s security situation has been rapidly changing, Kishida said at his first troop review, describing the reality as more severe than ever, with North Korea’s missile threat and China’s increasingly assertive maritime activity in the region. Kishida, who took office in October, served as the top commander for the first time at a Self-Defense Force troop review held at the main army base Camp Asaka, north of Tokyo, on Nov. 27, which gathered about 800 troops for the inspection. “I will consider all options, including possessing so-called enemy base strike capability, to pursue strengthening of defense power that is necessary,” he said in an address to hundreds of Ground Self-Defense Force members. The possibility of …

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WTO Postpones Major Meeting After New Variant Outbreak

GENEVA—The World Trade Organization (WTO) became the first major diplomatic casualty of the new coronavirus variant on Friday when it postponed its first ministerial meeting in four years due to the deteriorating health situation. Ministers from WTO members were due to have gathered next week for a meeting widely seen as a test of the WTO’s relevance. The WTO said that its members had agreed late on Friday to postpone the ministerial conference after the new variant outbreak led to travel restrictions that would have prevented many ministers from reaching Geneva. No new date has been set for a rescheduled meeting. The World Health Organisation has classified the B.1.1.529 variant detected in South Africa as a “variant of concern,” saying it may spread more quickly than other forms of the virus. Scientists are also seeking to find out if it is vaccine-resistant. Switzerland, home to the WTO, on Friday banned …

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