South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol says his country is capable of making its own nuclear weapons if the threat from North Korea gets serious. Photo/REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/Pool
SEOUL – President of South Korea (South Korea) Yoon Suk-yeol said his country can make nuclear weapons with its own technology if the threat from North Korea (North Korea) getting serious.
The remarks came after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said this month his country would develop a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) as the United States (US) and South Korea seek to isolate and cripple Pyongyang.
“If the (North Korean nuclear) problem becomes more serious, the Republic of Korea can use tactical nuclear weapons or have its own nuclear weapons,” said President Yoon, using the country’s official name; Republic of Korea, at a government meeting Wednesday.
“If that happens, it won’t take long, and with our science and technology, we can have (nuclear weapons) more quickly as time goes by,” Yoon continued, as quoted by Russia Today, Thursday (12/1/2023).
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The US withdrew its nuclear forces from South Korea in 1991 after disarmament talks with Pyongyang and Moscow.
Relations have since soured, with North Korea increasing its missile tests last year and enshrining the right to use nuclear weapons into national law in September.
The escalation has rattled Seoul, which is now seeking to strengthen its military alliance with the US and deepen cooperation with Japan.
Yoon said on Tuesday that the allies were discussing holding new joint military exercises, including tabletop and computer simulations, as well as drills involving “nuclear weapons delivery means”.
US President Joe Biden, however, denied on Monday that Washington was considering joint nuclear exercises with South Korea.
Pyongyang insists that its missile launch was a response to joint US-South Korean exercises, which North Korea views as a national security threat.