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S. Korean lawmaker suggests China provide N.K. with nuclear umbrella in exchange for denuclearization

All Headlines 07:06 July 16, 2015

WASHINGTON, July 15 (Yonhap) -- The chairman of South Korea's parliamentary defense committee suggested Wednesday that China consider providing a "nuclear umbrella" to North Korea in exchange for Pyongyang giving up its nuclear programs.

Rep. Hwang Jin-ha, a general-turned-politician, made the suggestion during a security forum at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, saying addressing Pyongyang's security concerns would be important in persuading the regime to denuclearize.

"Like the case between the ROK and the United States, China as a nuclear power can consider an option to provide the nuclear umbrella to ensure North Korea's security and economic assistance," Hwang said, referring to the U.S. nuclear protection for the South.

"North Korea made it clear the reason why they are keeping this nuclear ambition. There were two reasons. First, for their survivability, security of their regime. Secondly, recovery of their economy," he said. "So, the answer could be, if we provide persuadable kind of guarantee of the security to the Kim Jung-un regime, that could be one kind of answer."

Chances of his idea materializing appear low, especially at a time when China-North Korea ties have turned sour.

Hwang said he is aware there is opposition to the idea, but said it's worth a try.

North Korea claims it was compelled to develop nuclear weapons in self-defense against U.S. nuclear threats despite Washington's repeated assertions that it has no intention of attacking the North.

Pyongyang has conducted underground nuclear tests three times, in 2006, 2009 and 2013, and also built a facility to enrich uranium, which gives the communist regime a second way of building nuclear bombs in addition to its plutonium program.

The six-party talks aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear program have been stalled since late 2008. North Korea has called for resuming negotiations without preconditions, but the U.S. has demanded Pyongyang first take concrete steps demonstrating its denuclearization commitments.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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