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(LEAD) Yoon says he is looking carefully at extended deterrence options

All News 10:02 October 13, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with more remarks by Yoon, details; ADDS photo)
By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol said Thursday he is looking carefully at "various possibilities" on how to further strengthen U.S. extended deterrence against North Korea's growing nuclear threat.

The remark came after a Chosun Ilbo newspaper report that South Korea has asked the United States to have strategic assets, such as nuclear aircraft carriers or nuclear submarines, deployed to waters around the Korean Peninsula on a rotational basis around the clock in the event of a nuclear test by the North.

"As I said the other day, there are diverse opinions across our nation and in the United States regarding extended deterrence, so I am listening to them carefully and looking carefully at various possibilities," Yoon told reporters when asked to comment on the report.

"I'd like you to understand that it's difficult for a president to openly confirm or give a clear answer on such security issues," he added.

Calls have grown for the redeployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea or the country's own nuclear armament as the North has sharply escalated threats with a series of missile launches that Pyongyang said simulated nuclear missile strikes on the South.

Concerns have also grown that the North could carry out its seventh nuclear test at any time.

Yoon also talked about the economy and the Bank of Korea's decision Wednesday to raise the benchmark rate to 3 percent from the current 2.5 percent, the first time in about 10 years that the rate was raised to the 3 percent range.

"It's true that the many people and businesspeople are concerned about the volatility of financial markets and the uncertainty in the real economy, but the crisis should neither be exaggerated nor neglected," he said.

"It's important that the people don't feel too intimidated in these circumstances and normally carry out their necessary expenditures and consumption, and businesses carry out the needed investments," he added.

Yoon claimed the government is doing its best to manage the real economy and ensure the foreign currency reserve is not wasted.

President Yoon Suk-yeol (C) arrives at the presidential office in Seoul on Oct. 13, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk-yeol (C) arrives at the presidential office in Seoul on Oct. 13, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)


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