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South Korea, US Discussing Joint Nuclear Exercises: President Yoon

Monday 2 January 2023
South Korea, US Discussing Joint Nuclear Exercises: President Yoon

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Alwaght- South Korea and the US are mulling joint exercises involving US nuclear assets, allegedly to counter North Korea’s growing atomic and missile programs, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has said.

In an interview with the Chosun Ilbo newspaper, published on Monday, Yoon said Washington’s existing “nuclear umbrella” and “extended deterrence” were no longer enough to reassure South Koreans.

He was referring to the ability of the US military, particularly its nuclear forces, to deter attacks on its allies.

“What we call extended deterrence was also the US telling us not to worry because it will take care of everything, but now, it’s difficult to convince our people with just that,” he said. “The US government also understands that to some degree.”

To better respond to North Korea’s nuclear threats, Seoul wants to take part in the operation of US nuclear forces, he said.

“The nuclear weapons belong to the United States, but planning, information sharing, exercises and training should be jointly conducted by South Korea and the United States,” Yoon said, adding Washington is also “quite positive” about the idea.

Yoon’s remarks come a day after North Korean state media reported that its leader Kim Jong Un called for developing new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and an “exponential increase” of the country’s nuclear arsenal to counter what he termed as hostility from the US and South Korea.

Kim also told a meeting of the ruling Workers Party last week South Korea has now become his country’s “undoubted enemy” and rolled out new military goals, hinting at another year of intensive weapons tests and tension.

On Sunday, North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile off its east coast in a rare late-night New Year’s Day weapons test, following three ballistic missiles launched the previous day, capping a year marked by a record number of missile tests.

North Korea’s race to advance its nuclear and missile programs has renewed debate over South Korea’s own nuclear armaments, with a majority of South Koreans favoring the development of a domestic atomic weapons program, but Yoon said that maintaining the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons remained important.

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South Korea US Nuclear Exercise US North Korea

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