January 20, 2023 13:24
A leading U.S. think tank has called for South Korea and the U.S. to start discussing the redeployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies in a report urges South Korea and the U.S. to "lay pre-decisional groundwork for possible redeployment of U.S. low-yield nuclear weapons at some point in the future."
It stresses the need to "consider allied tabletop planning exercises that would be explicitly pre-decisional and leave the timeline and scope of weapons deliberately ambiguous." In other words, the discussion would only have the character of a warning to North Korea over its escalating provocations and reassurance for South Koreans for now.
The CSIS also expresses opposition to South Korea acquiring its own nuclear weapons. "Do not, under current circumstances, deploy U.S. tactical nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula [now] nor condone the acquisition of nuclear weapons by South Korea."
It also recommends that South Korea and the U.S. "create a framework for joint nuclear planning" similar to a NATO planning group and "potentially explore the prospects for multilateral nuclear umbrella guarantees by engaging other like-minded partners, such as the U.K. and France."
The report was published by a Korea working group at the center that consists of 14 experts and former U.S. government officials, including Joseph Nye of Harvard University, Richard Armitage, a former deputy secretary of state; Victor Cha, the CSIS' Korea chair and Vincent Brooks, a former chief of the U.S. Forces Korea.
The report warns that "North Korea's increasing weapons capabilities, its threats to use nuclear weapons for offensive purposes, and the vulnerability of U.S. national missile defense interceptors to North Korean multiple independent reentry vehicle technologies have led the South Koreans to question the credibility of U.S. extended deterrence."
The threats are "generating doubts among U.S. allies in the region that Washington would put one of its own cities at risk by responding to a North Korean attack on an ally," it adds.
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