Former Secretary of State and Cold War strategist Henry R. Kissinger warned about nuclear proliferation as Japan and South Korea may also be racing towards equipping themselves with weapons of war amid growing threats from North Korea. The comments come amid concerns over Pyongyang's continuous efforts to grow its nuclear arsenal threatening its neighboring countries and the U.S.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Kissinger said that the Kim Jong Un regime is about to kickstart an arms race in which "nuclear weapons" will "spread in the rest of Asia." 

“It cannot be that North Korea is the only Korean country in the world that has nuclear weapons, without the South Koreans trying to match it. Nor can it be that Japan will sit there,” he said. “So, therefore, we’re talking about nuclear proliferation.”

In South Korea, polls show 60 percent of the population favors building nuclear weapons, the Times reported.

As North Korea continued testing its ballistic missile capabilities, rhetoric about nuclear war between Washington and Pyongyang has ramped up in recent days.

Amid increased threats of nuclear war, North Korea said Monday that it will be launching more satellites as part of its five-year space development program, according to the Rodong Sinmun newspaper. The plan comes amid speculation that the Kim Jong Un regime was preparing for more provocative actions as it had made no such move for more than a month after its sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3.

North Korea said that it has the right to develop a space program like any sovereign country. Among the satellites that the country plans to launch, there will also be a stationary satellite that will be placed into space. The program seeks to improve North Korea's economy and people's livelihood, South Korean newspaper Yonhap reported citing Rodong Sinmun.

"Some countries have manipulated U.N. sanctions resolutions against us and hindered the sovereign country's space development. It is not a tolerable act," Rodong Sinmun wrote. "It is a global trend that a country seeks the economic growth with the space program."

However, the satellites launch plan is seen as North Korea's attempt to build the case for its possible launch of a long-range missile, Yonhap News reported. Several experts believe that North Korea's purported launch of a satellite is a covert test of ballistic missile technology. 

North Korea has continued to grow its nuclear arsenal in recent months, testing ballistic missiles and issuing threats against the U.S. and its ally South Korea. 

In August,  President Donald Trump warned Kim Jong Un’s regime of “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” while U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned Sunday during a trip to South Korea that the U.S. would not accept a nuclear North Korea.

Meanwhile, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that North Korea's supreme leader Kim must be convinced that nobody is out to remove him or destroy his country. Duterte said “a nuclear war is totally unacceptable” and “somebody has to talk to Kim Jong Un.”

His comments came as he departed Monday for Japan where he plans to discuss North Korea’s nuclear threats with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He also plans to discuss how to deal with North Korea when he meets with Trump in Manila next month.