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US Republican leaders propose NATO-style nuclear agreement on Korean Peninsula

US Republican leaders propose NATO-style nuclear agreement on Korean Peninsula

Posted May. 17, 2024 08:03,   

Updated May. 17, 2024 08:03


With North Korea rapidly advancing its nuclear and missile capabilities and China and Russia boosting their cooperation, the security landscape on the Korean Peninsula is undergoing significant changes. In response, a prominent U.S. senator has proposed the establishment of a nuclear sharing agreement in the Indo-Pacific region, similar to NATO's arrangements.

“U.S. leaders hoped (in the early 1990s), for example, that removing our nuclear arms from South Korea would incentivize North Korea to stop production of its own. Instead, the security situation both on the peninsula and the Pacific has become significantly worse,” Sen. Roger Wicker, the ranking Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, argued in an op-ed for Fox News on Wednesday. “It is time to pay attention to the blinking red light and to rethink our forward nuclear posture,” he added, stressing the need to establish nuclear burden-sharing agreements in the region, as NATO does in its territory.

Sen. James Risch, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, echoed Wicker's sentiments. He emphasized that the option of reintroducing nuclear weapons to East Asia should not be considered taboo. This rare call for the redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula comes from the Republican leadership of two key Senate committees influential in shaping U.S. policy on the region as the country heads towards a presidential election.

The Biden administration has focused on strengthening extended deterrence through the South Korea-U.S. Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG). Bonnie Jenkins, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, reiterated the administration’s commitment, saying, "We want South Korea to understand that our (nuclear umbrella) commitments are firm."

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