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Ruling party lawmaker advocates S. Korea's nuke armament

All News 09:57 July 25, 2016

SEOUL, July 25 (Yonhap) -- A former floor leader of the ruling Saenuri Party said Monday that South Korea should also develop nuclear weapons if Pyongyang's provocation continues, adding the country's security is being threatened as U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump openly spoke about the withdrawal of troops from the Korean Peninsula.

"As Trump is openly calling for the pull out of U.S. troops from South Korea, the country's security is like a candlelight facing a storm," Rep. Won Yoo-chul claimed, adding the country should also develop its own nuclear weapons capability to deal with Pyongyang's ever-growing threat.

Since 2006, the northern country has tested four nuclear devices and argued it can put these on top of missiles able to target all of South Korea, Japan and some U.S. bases in the Pacific.

Trump has been claiming the U.S. should continue defending other countries as long as they pay for the cost of the troop presence, arguing that it makes no sense to pay to defend rich nations. South Korea currently pays about half the costs, about US$900 million a year, to help finance its U.S. troop presence.

Yoo added North Korea may conduct its fifth nuclear test around the end of this month, adding South Korea should also come up with serious countermeasures if the reclusive country makes such a move.

The five-term lawmaker has been an advocate of Seoul acquiring nuclear weapons as a means to defend itself.

In line with the move, Yoo said he will kick off the so-called nuclear forum to conduct studies on detailed action plans to better cope with North Korea's provocations and help establish peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Political pundits, however, said it is uncertain if Yoo's claim will earn support from other party members, as it contradicts the government's stance on non-proliferation.

colin@yna.co.kr
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