South Korean President Moon Jae-in has dismissed the possibility of deploying nuclear weapons in his country, warning it could “lead to a nuclear arms race in northeast Asia.”
“I do not agree that South Korea needs to develop our own nuclear weapons or relocate tactical nuclear weapons in the face of North Korea’s nuclear threat,” he told CNN Thursday in his first televised interview since North Korea’s sixth nuclear test.
Though he was not supportive of deploying or pursuing nuclear weapons, Moon said South Korea “needs to develop our military capabilities in the face of North Korea’s nuclear advancement.”
Earlier this month, South Korea’s defense minister suggested it was worth reviewing the redeployment of US tactical nuclear weapons on the Peninsula in order to deter threats from the North, something conservative US Senator John McCain said should be “seriously considered.”
A recent Gallup Korea poll found 60% of respondents were in favor of South Korea having its own nuclear weapons, with 35% opposed.
“To respond to North Korea by having our own nuclear weapons will not maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula and could lead to a nuclear arms race in northeast Asia,” Moon said.