Seoul rules out redeployment of US nuclear weapons
South Korea's defence ministry on Tuesday ruled out the redeployment of US nuclear weapons on its soil as a deterrent to North Korea, a day after its minister had raised the prospect.world Updated: Nov 23, 2010 11:48 IST
South Korea's defence ministry on Tuesday ruled out the redeployment of US nuclear weapons on its soil as a deterrent to North Korea, a day after its minister had raised the prospect.
"Redeploying US tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea would cross the line set by the policy of denuclearising the Korean peninsula," Deputy Defence Minister Chang Kwang-Il told reporters.
"We've not considered redeploying US tactical nuclear weapons and there has been no consultation with the US over the issue," he was quoted as saying by a ministry spokesman.
The Pentagon also said on Monday that the United States has no immediate plans to redeploy the weapons, which were withdrawn in 1991.
Revelations over the weekend about a new uranium enrichment plant in North Korea triggered alarm in Washington, Tokyo and Seoul.
Asked in parliament on Monday whether the South would consider asking for a redeployment, Defence Minister Kim Tae-Young told a lawmaker that the government "will review what you said".
His comment made front-page headlines in most newspapers Tuesday.
Chang said that the minister's comment had been taken out of context and meant that the South could consult with the US on "all possible options".
The United States still stations 28,500 troops in the South, but pulled out the atomic weapons as part of a disarmament initiative.