More members of South Korea's governing party are calling for the country to develop an independent nuclear deterrent in order to counter a growing danger demonstrated by North Korea's recent successful atomic test, the JoongAng Daily newspaper reported this week.
"The only way to defend our survival would be to maintain a balance of terror that confronts nuclear with nuclear," said South Korean lawmaker Shim Jae-cheol of the Saenuri Party at a Supreme Council meeting earlier this week. His remarks followed comments made the previous week by fellow party member Representative Chung Mong-joon.
Shim additionally called for "redeploying U.S. tactical nuclear weapons" that were removed from South Korea in the early 1990s.
The South Korean government does not intend to push for refielding of U.S. nonstrategic nuclear arms, presidential secretary for security and foreign affairs Chun Young-woo said in a Thursday interview with Voice of America. "It is not a matter to be reviewed," the Korea Herald quoted him as saying.
"I am doubtful that our nuclear armament or the redeployment of tactical nukes would help South Korea's defense against North Korea's nuclear weapons, or would help denuclearize the North," Chun said.
U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Sung Kim said on Thursday it would be a "huge mistake" to bring tactical weapons back to South Korea.
South Korea is covered by U.S. extended deterrence, which includes the threat of use of nuclear weapons against aggressors should the Northeast Asian country come under attack.