An increasing number of South Korean politicians are now saying their country must develop its own nuclear paraphernalia in order to deter their belligerent northern neighbor. Following North Korea’s ICBM advances and no longer sure the US is capable/willing to protect them from a possible nuclear/conventional strike, the South Koreans are now calling for what has been described as nuclear sovereignty.
Also, President Trump’s America-First policy which is regarded as “isolationist” by many created a climate of uncertainty in South Korea, as the country’s lawmakers are doubting they can rely 100% on the US for their defense. A top national security adviser for South Korea’s president believes Donald Trump’s America-first policy means the POTUS has wavered on his commitment to protect South Korea. Truth be told, the Donald suggested during his 2016 campaign that both Japan and South Korea should develop their own nuclear arsenals in order to be able to defend themselves not only from North Korea but also Russia and China.
South Korea’s current president Moon just took office 2 months ago in May and he is a liberal who doesn’t support calls for his country to enter the select nuclear club, even if a majority of South Koreans seem to be inclined to favor the respective idea. Each time the Pyongyang rogue communist regime conducts an ICBM test, support for South Korea getting its own nukes bumps higher. And now, South Korean conservative lawmakers are pressing the president to support the country arming itself with nukes. Since South Korea signed the international nuclear non-proliferation treaty back in 1975, the country has relied on the United States for defense, gambling on the deterrence capacity of the US military which has a 4000 nuclear weapons stockpile.
With North Korea moving its ICBM program forward, South Korea is now looking to change its defense strategy, especially with US defense analysts determining that the Pyongyang is now capable of miniaturizing a nuclear warhead which attached to an ICBM may very well put US mainland within striking distance in 2 years tops. The thing is, with North Korea being capable of nuking continental US, its politicians may be reluctant to defend South Korea against a conventional attack from their northern neighbor, fearing such an act could lead to a devastating nuclear exchange. As President Moon’s top aide has said recently:
“If North Korea develops an ICBM and deploys nuclear weapons, will the United States deploy military forces at the right time in case of a contingency? If North Korea’s nuclear missiles can hit the mainland, will the United States protect South Korea during an attack? There are suspicions and concerns about these questions.”
Photo Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service AP