The country would lose legitimacy in its push for the denuclearization of North Korea, said Kim Byung-joo, a retired army general and lawmaker of the Democratic Party.The U.S.and South Korea have faced limitations in countering North Korea’s threat other than strengthening deterrence and preparing for future negotiations, said former South Korean nuclear envoy Wi Sung-lac, especially as Russia and China vetoed additional United Nations sanctions following ICBM tests and dozens of short-range ballistic missile launches last year.“The Yoon administration may pursue more involvement in deploying U.S.nuclear assets, but China and Russia will perceive greater U.S.presence on the Korean Peninsula as a significant threat, making it even more difficult to seek their support on resolving North Korea’s nuclear issue,” Mr.Wi said.
Biden and Yoon had instructed their governments to enhance joint defense readiness based on U.S.extended deterrence in response to North Korea’s threat, adding that the two nations weren’t discussing joint nuclear exercises because South Korea was a non-nuclear-weapons state.The U.S.stationed tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea until the early 1990s, when it withdrew its nuclear arsenal under a disarmament deal with the Soviet Union.
But those advocating for the redeployment of nuclear weapons say that conventional capabilities are insufficient to prevent a war on the Korean Peninsula, and that the U.S.nuclear umbrella can’t be fully trusted.“We can’t counter nuclear weapons with conventional weaponry, so there is no way but to acquire nuclear capabilities ourselves,” ruling-party lawmaker Kim Gi-hyeon, who has called for South Korea to develop its own nuclear weapons, said in October as he was running for the party’s chairmanship.
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