Leer en Español
President Yoon Suk-yeol said South Korea is in talks with the U.S. to conduct joint nuclear exercises in response to Pyongyang’s threats.
In an interview with local newspaper Chosun Ilbo published Monday, Yoon said the idea of the U.S. providing a nuclear umbrella or extended deterrence to South Korea is not enough to reassure the country’s citizens.
“Now, for effective extended deterrence, we are in talks with the US on the concept of joint planning and joint exercises in terms of nuclear capabilities, and the US is quite positive about it,” Yoon said.
The interview was published a day after North Korean state media reported that leader Kim Jong-un called for “an exponential increase” in his country’s nuclear arsenal, as well as calling South Korea an “undoubted enemy.”
“In the past, the concept of a nuclear umbrella was a preparation against the Soviet Union and China before North Korea developed nuclear weapons. What we call extended deterrence was also the U.S. telling us not to worry because it would take care of everything, but now, it’s hard to convince with just that,” Yoon added in that interview.
The South Korean president clarified that nuclear weapons would still belong to the world’s leading economy, but the planning would be done jointly, in addition to sharing information and conducting the exercises together.
“The US is uncomfortable with the phrase of sharing nuclear weapons. Instead, if we develop this as a concept where South Korea and the US jointly conduct not only planning for the operation of nuclear forces, but also exercises, training and operations, this measure will be effective,” he added.
Yoon’s remarks come after a year in which North Korea has conducted a record number of tests, around fifty, of weapons of mass destruction and in which tension on the Korean peninsula has reached new highs.