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President Joe Biden contradicts South Korea’s President’s claim that the two countries are planning joint

US Not Discussing Nuclear Exercises With South Korea, Biden Says, VOA news 2 Jan 23, SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — 

President Joe Biden says the United States is not discussing holding joint nuclear exercises with its ally South Korea, even though South Korea’s president told a local newspaper that such talks were underway.

In an interview published Monday, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said the discussions centered on joint planning and exercises with U.S. nuclear forces — an arrangement he said would have the same effect as “nuclear sharing.”

Any such plan would amount to a significant change in U.S. policy toward Korea and would have almost certainly further raised tensions with North Korea.

Asked on the White House lawn late Monday whether such talks were occurring, Biden replied, “No.” He offered no further details.

Yoon made the comments in a New Year’s interview in the conservative Chosun Ilbo newspaper.

“The nuclear weapons belong to the United States, but South Korea and the United States should jointly share information, plan, and train together. The United States also feels quite positively about this idea,” Yoon said.

The United States has not stationed nuclear weapons in South Korea since the early 1990s, when it pulled tactical nukes from the peninsula as part of a disarmament deal with the Soviet Union. Instead, South Korea is protected by the U.S. “nuclear umbrella,” under which Washington vows to use all of its capabilities, including nuclear weapons, to defend its ally.

In the interview, Yoon suggested such ideas were outdated. “What we call ‘extended deterrence’ means that the United States will take care of everything, so South Korea should not worry about it,” Yoon said. “But now, it is difficult to convince our people with just this idea.”

Faced with an increasingly hostile and nuclear-armed North Korean neighbor, a growing number of prominent South Koreans have called for the country to acquire its own nuclear deterrent.

According to a poll published Monday by the Seoul-based Hankook Research organization, 67% of South Koreans support South Korea getting nuclear weapons, including 70% of conservatives and 54% of liberals. The poll is consistent with many other public opinion surveys in recent years.

As a presidential candidate in 2021, the conservative Yoon said he would ask the United States to either redeploy tactical nuclear weapons or enter a NATO-style arrangement in which South Koreans would be trained to deliver U.S. nuclear weapons in a conflict. The U.S. State Department quickly shot down the proposal………………….

many analysts are skeptical the United States would enter such an arrangement, noting it would go against Washington’s stated global non-proliferation goals, as well as its support for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

“I don’t think the United States would be receptive to including South Korea in nuclear planning,” said Ankit Panda, a senior fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. “And it’s ultimately not necessary to deter nuclear use by North Korea, which can be largely done through conventional means.”………………………………………….

Many analysts warn South Korea’s nuclear armament would be disastrous, leading to international sanctions, increased tensions with its neighbors, and the creation of a “nuclear domino effect” that could lead other Northeast Asian countries to acquire nuclear weapons. https://www.voanews.com/a/yoon-us-south-korea-discussing-nuclear-exercises-/6900423.html

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January 3, 2023 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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