May 14, 2012 13:47
The Defense Ministry believes an amendment adopted by the U.S. House Armed Services Committee to redeploy tactical nuclear weapons in the Korean Peninsula will hurt attempts to resolve the North Korean nuclear weapon issues.
A military source said on Sunday, "If the U.S. redeploys nuclear weapons here, it means that we are abandoning the Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula adopted by the two Koreas in December 1991. This can only mean that we are removing the solid grounds to persuade North Korea to give up its own nuclear weapons."
But he added that redeployment of nuclear weapons is unrealistic because the U.S. must have destroyed much of the forward-based nuclear weapons it withdrew from South Korea in 1991.
However, some retired generals have long called for re-nuclearization of the South to secure an effective deterrent.
South Korea and the U.S. came up with an extended deterrence strategy to counter North Korea's nuclear program after the U.S. withdrew the tactical nuclear weapons from the South. This includes a U.S. nuclear "umbrella" that would see tit-for-tat counterattack if South Korea sustains a nuclear attack, and a response to a North Korean nuclear attacks or threats of a nuclear attack with conventional weapons.
The U.S. has reportedly devised a plan to use B61 nuclear bombs carried by fighter jets and bombers in Guam and Tomahawk cruise missiles fired by nuclear-powered submarines. Their power is around 100 to 200 kilotons, equivalent of 100,000 to 200,000 TNT and one-tenth of a strategic nuclear weapon.
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