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‘Denuke declaration should be scrapped if N. Korea pushes with nuclear testing’

‘Denuke declaration should be scrapped if N. Korea pushes with nuclear testing’

Posted October. 13, 2022 08:00,   

Updated October. 13, 2022 08:00


As North Korea increases provocation to the South by legalizing nuclear energy and holding training for tactical nuclear-operating units, the ruling party has suggested the need to bring back tactical nuclear weapons previously relocated by the U.S., highlighting the need for the balance of terror.

“If North Korea pushes forward with a seventh nuclear testing, the September 19 South-North Korea’s Military Agreement signed during the former Moon Jae-in administration and the 1991 Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula should be scrapped as well,” the ruling party’s Emergency Response Committee Chairman Jeong Jin-seok said in a Facebook posting on Wednesday.

Some say that Jeong’s remarks suggest that South Korea should request the U.S. to relocate the location of tactical nuclear weapons if North Korea pushes forward with the seventh nuclear test. This is because U.S. forces in South Korea withdrew all the tactical nuclear weapons stationed in Korea before the joint declaration in 1991. “It is quite illogical to connect the comment with the relocation of nuclear weapons,” Jeong told reporters.

The Presidential Office is reportedly seeking all options to counter North Korea, as it considers the situation surrounding the peninsula quite grave, unlike when Yoon first took office. “We inevitably consider all options in preparation for North Korea’s possible nuclear testing,” said a high-ranking government official.

Experts say that it would not be easy to bring back nuclear weapons, given the public opinions of the U.S. and the international community. “We aim to achieve complete and verifiable denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. We still believe that issues can be resolved through diplomacy,” said Coordinator John Kirby for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council. The remarks are considered to highlight the aim for denuclearization and indirectly hint negative position on relocating nuclear weapons on the peninsula.

Su-Young Hong gaea@donga.com