November 23, 2010 09:34
Seoul will consider the deployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea in response to North Korea's unveiling of a uranium enrichment facility, Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said Monday. He said a joint committee between Seoul and Washington on nuclear deterrence "will review issues related to the deployment."
The U.S. withdrew its nuclear weapons from South Korea in 1991.
Kim was replying to a question by Grand National Party Rep. Lee Jong-heuk in a session of the National Assembly's ad hoc committee on budget and fiscal matters, who asked if the government has plans to consider re-deployment of the weapons.
But a Defense Ministry spokesman later sought to limit the damage, saying Kim meant that Seoul "in principle could take all possible responses to nuclear threats from the North into consideration. We've not yet considered deploying U.S. tactical nuclear weapons, nor has there been any detailed discussion between Korea and the U.S."
The U.S. removed all tactical nuclear weapons deployed overseas to the mainland under a new military strategy, and many were scrapped. Even if they are deployed again in here, it would be in waters near the Korean Peninsula in the form of nuclear-tipped Tomahawk cruise missiles carried by nuclear-powered submarines or Aegis ships, a military source said.
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