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South Korea rejects idea of redeploying US nuclear weapons on peninsula

S. Korea rejects idea of redeploying US nuclear weapons on peninsula, 12 Sept 17 SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea said Monday that it’s not reviewing its policy on the redeployment of U.S. nuclear weapons after Sen. John McCain said the idea should be “seriously considered” as a way to counter the growing threat from the North.

McCain’s comments were made Sunday on CNN as he called for the United States to increase its presence in the region and warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that his country could face “extinction” if it “acts in an aggressive fashion.”

North Korea, in turn, vowed the U.S. will pay a harsh price if harsher sanctions are approved by the U.N. Security Council on Monday as Washington and its allies pressed for an oil embargo following the communist state’s sixth nuclear test.

McCain said the U.S. needs to increase its missile defense and other capabilities in South Korea and do more to pressure China to help. He also raised the once-unthinkable idea of redeploying U.S. nuclear weapons in South Korea.

 “The Korean defense minister just a few days ago called for nuclear weapons to be redeployed,” the Arizona Republican said on the “State of the Union” program. “It ought to be seriously considered.”

He was referring to remarks by Defense Minister Song Young-moo during an appearance at the National Assembly last week.

The U.S. brought the weapons to the South in the years following the 1950-53 Korean War but withdrew them in 1991 after the two Koreas agreed to denuclearize the peninsula.

President Moon Jae-in’s office has consistently rejected the idea of redeploying the warheads in response to mounting opposition calls to do so.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha reiterated that the issue was not on the table at the moment, although she acknowledged “that the public opinion is swinging in that direction.”

“We are currently not reviewing the issue of tactical nuclear weapons,” she said Monday during a press conference at the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club. “Our policy remains a complete commitment to denuclearization.”

Kang, who was addressing reporters before traveling with Moon to New York for the U.N. General Assembly later this month, said any U.S. decision on the issue must be made in close coordination with Seoul.

She also insisted that North Korea’s “provocations” must be met with increased pressure to force them to engage in talks.


September 13, 2017 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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