South Korea official: No plan to redeploy tactical nukes

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   Sept. 12, 2017 at 10:19 AM
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Sept. 12 (UPI) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in's office denied reports Seoul is exploring the possibility of relocating U.S. tactical nuclear weapons to the peninsula.

The statement from Lee Sang-chul, the vice chief of the Blue House national security office, came a day after ruling party politicians in Seoul said the relocation of tactical nukes could place South Korea in greater danger.

"The position of the Korean government on the principle of denuclearization remains unchanged," Lee said Tuesday. "We reconfirm there have been no review of relocating tactical nuclear weapons."

Lee told reporters while debates over the redeployment of weapons in response to North Korea's nuclear and missile threats can take place in political circles and the media, the "government sees many problems" arising from redeployment, News 1 reported.

Redeployment would "not only be in violation of the fundamental principles of the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, it also has the potential to weaken or even destroy the cause of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," Lee said. "If South and North Korea take up nuclear arms it would trigger a rise in nuclear armament in Northeast Asia."

The South Korean official added the redeployment would have a "negative impact" on the Korean peninsula.

In reference to the new sanctions resolution adopted at the United Nations Security Council on Monday, Lee said the "choice is up to North Korea" to turn in the right direction and seek dialogue.

North Korea has condemned the sanctions as "illegal," and experts say Pyongyang could retaliate with a cyberattack or another form of provocation.

South Korea signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968.

All tactical nuclear weapons were removed from the country in 1991.

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