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U.S. to retaliate in case of N. Korean nuclear attack against the South

U.S. to retaliate in case of N. Korean nuclear attack against the South

Posted April. 24, 2023 07:55,   

Updated April. 24, 2023 07:55


South Korea and the U.S. have been working on a joint document that outlines the conditions for the U.S. to retaliate with nuclear weapons in the event of a nuclear attack on South Korean territory by North Korea or other countries before the summit meeting. This document is currently being coordinated by both countries and was requested by South Korea. If finalized, this would mark the first time that the U.S. promise of nuclear retaliation has been officially specified in a document. The two countries are reportedly working on a plan to enhance their joint planning and execution capabilities related to extended nuclear deterrence by setting up a separate ministerial-level permanent consultative body.

According to the Dong-A Ilbo coverage on Sunday, the South Korean government has reportedly conveyed its position that they hope the U.S. would respond with nuclear weapons if North Korea were to use them before the upcoming South Korea-U.S. summit in Washington on Wednesday (local time). North Korea’s nuclear attack against U.S. allies would result in the end of the Kim Jong Un regime and the U.S. would provide extended deterrence to South Korea using all categories of military capabilities, including nuclear weapons, said a recent joint press release from the Korea-U.S. Defense Ministers’ Security Consultative Meeting and the South Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue. A government insider said, “We wanted further clarification on the issue instead of ambiguous expressions or reiterations of previous announcements to ensure the public understands the U.S.' commitment to providing extended deterrence in the event of a nuclear attack on South Korea.”

There are ongoing discussions to include a provision in the joint document that would allow for the deployment of strategic nuclear assets on the Korean Peninsula at the request of South Korea. This would not involve the direct deployment of tactical nuclear weapons on South Korean territory, but rather the systematic arrangement of U.S. strategic assets to be moved according to the needs of South Korea.

President Yoon Suk Yeol will begin a state visit to the U.S. on Monday for five nights and seven days. During this visit, which coincides with the 70th anniversary of the South Korea-U.S. alliance, he will present a blueprint for South Korea and the U.S. to move toward a “global comprehensive strategic alliance.” The plan includes practical extended deterrence, strengthened cooperation in advanced technology, and economic security.

Na-Ri Shin journari@donga.com · Hyo-Ju Son hjson@donga.com