S.Korean PM Against Redeploying US Tactical Nuclear Weapons
SEOUL, April 25 (RIA Novosti) - South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won reiterated Seoul's commitments to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula on Thursday and said he opposed the idea of redeploying the US tactical nuclear weapons in his country.
'The [South Korean] government remains committed to maintaining the principle of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," the Yonhap news agency quoted the minister as saying at a parliamentary session.
'While not pursuing independent nuclear sovereignty, I think [South Korea] can deter [the North's] nuclear programs by managing the extended deterrence provided by the United States,' he said.
Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said the North 'does not appear to be able to produce miniaturized nuclear weapons and missiles to carry them,' though it has been 'ready to fire mid-range missiles with its own launchers.'
'We are working on how to deal with North Korea's nuclear programs by devising two concepts. One is making retaliatory measures in case of its firing of nuclear missiles, and the other is how to detect, control and target its nuclear weapons. We are developing extended-range interceptors,' the minister said.
Tensions have risen sharply on the Korean Peninsula since December, when North Korea tested a long-range Taepodong 2 missile, and in February carried out its third nuclear test, following tests in 2006 and 2009.
The UN responded with sanctions. The start of joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States last month further irritated the North, which threatened to carry out a nuclear attack on the US mainland, as well as on US forces in the region.
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