A NUCLEAR ARMS race could erupt in the Asia Pacific region, according to leading experts, who warn that Japan, South Korea and Taiwan could all develop their own nuclear weapons to counter the threat of China and North Korea.

Japan, South Korea and Taiwan could all push for nuclear weapons amid growing panic over the threat from China and North Korea. The rivalry in the Asia Pacific between major powers and their allies is fuelling a new arms race, according to Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride. A special advisor to the South Korean President told Al Jazeera that a “nightmare scenario” was developing. 

Moon Chung-in: said: “If we fail to denuclearized North Korea, then there will be growing voice for the nuclearization in South Korea

“Then that will trigger pronuclear forces in Japan. Even Taiwan will be in the pushing for that idea.

“That would be the really nightmarish scenario.”

Mr McBride pointed to China’s “ballooning defense spending and its expansionist push in the region” as a point of concern for many countries.

There remains the prospect that China could invade Taiwan, over which it claims sovereignty.

China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province and has threatened to create a conflict in order to unify it with their mainland.

Last month, Taiwan’s foreign minister also said China is “preparing for war” as the island country prepared for a potential clash.

Joseph Wu said Beijing has been trying to “cut off” Taiwan from the world with military moves and international pressure.

Mr McBride said: “Asia-Pacific is increasingly the arena for global rivalries to play out.

“In one camp, the United States and its allies, confronting an ever more assertive China and Russia, in what’s starting to feel like a new type of Cold War.

“And let’s not forget, of course, the North Korea factor.”

On Thursday this week, experts told a US Congressional commission that China’s nuclear arsenal is a growing threat to US security.

Phillip Saunders, director of the Centre for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs at the National Defence University, warned: “Have the risks changed? Yes, it’s a more competitive US-China relationship.

“The chances of a conflict over Taiwan – while I don’t believe they’re high right now, they certainly have increased Something might go wrong.”

Earlier today, China appeared to mock the Western powers meeting at the G7 Summit, saying that the days when a “small” group of countries decided the fate of the world were long gone.