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In a first, South Korea declares nuclear weapons a policy option

Japan Times, BY CHOE SANG-HUN, THE NEW YORK TIMES 13 Jan 23,

SEOUL – South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said for the first time Wednesday that if North Korea’s nuclear threat grows, South Korea would consider building nuclear weapons of its own or ask the United States to redeploy them on the Korean Peninsula.

Speaking during a joint policy briefing by his defense and foreign ministries Wednesday, Yoon was quick to add that building nuclear weapons was not yet an official policy. He stressed that South Korea would for now deal with North Korea’s nuclear threat by strengthening its alliance with the United States………………….

“It’s possible that the problem gets worse and our country will introduce tactical nuclear weapons or build them on our own,” said Yoon, according to a transcript of his comments released by his office. “If that’s the case, we can have our own nuclear weapons pretty quickly, given our scientific and technological capabilities.”

South Korea is a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, or NPT, which bans the country from seeking nuclear weapons. It also signed a joint declaration with North Korea in 1991 in which both Koreas agreed not to “test, manufacture, produce, receive, possess, store, deploy or use nuclear weapons.”

But North Korea has reneged on the agreement by conducting six nuclear tests since 2006. …………………………………..

“If South Korea ​possesses ​nuclear weapons, the United States will not need to ask whether it should use its ​own ​nuclear weapons to defend its ally​,​ and the alliance will never be put to a test,” said Cheong Seong-chang,​ a senior analyst at the Sejong Institute in South Korea. “If South Korea owns nuclear weapons, the U.S. will actually become safer.”……………………….

South Korea would need to quit the NPT to build its own arsenal. Analysts said that quitting the NPT would be too risky for the South​ because it could trigger international sanctions​. ​

Some lawmakers affiliated with Yoon’s party and analysts like Cheon want the United States to reintroduce U.S. nuclear weapons​ to the South and forge a nuclear-sharing agreement with Seoul, similar to the one in which NATO aircraft would be allowed to carry U.S. nuclear weapons in wartime……………………………….

more https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2023/01/13/asia-pacific/south-korea-nuclear-weapons-policy/

January 13, 2023 - Posted by | South Korea, weapons and war

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