Yoon reaffirms commitment to nuclear treaty in Davos
SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk Yeol reaffirmed South Korea's commitment to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), saying it would be "realistic" and "rational" to abide by the nuclear treaty.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Yoon said he remains committed to working closely with Washington against North Korea's nuclear threats.
"I can assure you that the Republic of Korea's realistic and rational option is to fully respect the NPT regime," Yoon was quoted as saying, referring to South Korea by its official name. "I'm fully confident about the U.S.' extended deterrence."
For this goal, he said the two countries are "preparing a stronger joint planning and joint execution in operating the U.S. nuclear assets on the Korean Peninsula."
The remarks came after Yoon hinted at the possibility of Seoul's own nuclear armament as a way to defend the nation during a policy report by the foreign and defense ministers earlier this month.
A presidential official later explained the comment should be understood as Yoon "stating his firm commitment amid the escalating threat of North Korea's nuclear weapons."
The WSJ assessed that Yoon "dialed back" his remarks on developing Seoul's own nuclear weapons.
On Japan's push to strengthen its military capacity, Yoon said he understands the move and emphasized the importance of trilateral security cooperation.
"I believe that trilateral cooperation is very important, and, in this regard, I don't see many problems about Japan strengthening their own capabilities."
On the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act that is feared to hurt South Korean automakers, like Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Corp., in the U.S. market, Yoon said the most important issue would be the "actual execution of law and relevant provisions," and to make sure Korean firms won't be "exposed to too much risk."
Yoon said he would like to visit China for a meeting with his counterpart, Xi Jinping, but did not elaborate on a possible date.
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