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U.S. should redeploy tactical nuclear weapons on Korean Peninsula to make deterrence 'credible': Bolton

North Korea 13:35 April 25, 2023

SEOUL, April 25 (Yonhap) -- The United States should redeploy tactical nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula in the short term as a way to make Washington's extended deterrence against North Korea "credible," former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Tuesday.

"I think the United States should redeploy tactical nuclear weapons on the Peninsula, and they ought to be made very clear to Kim Jong-un and whatever relative is looking to succeed him in North Korea, that we in the government of South Korea will use tactical nuclear weapons without hesitation," Bolton said at a security conference in Seoul.

Bolton added, "That's how you make deterrence credible," and stressed that such a measure would buy time for South Korea to "think long and hard" about whether it wants its own separate nuclear capability.

The comments, which were made at the Asan Plenum 2023 conference, hosted by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, came amid growing public opinion within South Korea on the need for Seoul to independently build its own nuclear weapons.

A survey of 1,008 adults, conducted by pollster Realmeter last week, found that 56.5 percent of respondents say they support South Korea building its own nuclear weapons and the issue needs to be discussed at an upcoming summit between President Yoon Suk Yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington.

The former adviser, considered to have played a key role in setting up two U.S.-North Korea summits during the previous Washington administration under Donald Trump, expressed strong reservations on the North's past rhetoric on denuclearization.

"We can say that there is no evidence whatsoever that North Korea has ever made a strategic decision to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons," Bolton said.

He advised Seoul to join the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue to expand the group to five countries, transforming the Quad into the "Quint," and make it "far stronger and give it many more opportunities" in dealing with complex security situations.

On China-Taiwan tensions, Bolton stressed that a threat by China to Taiwan should be interpreted also as a threat to South Korea and urged Seoul to play a larger role in geopolitical structures that are being created in the region.

Former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton delivers a keynote speech at the Asan Plenum 2023 on the 70th anniversary of the South Korea-U.S. alliance at a Seoul hotel on April 25, 2023. (Yonhap)

Former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton delivers a keynote speech at the Asan Plenum 2023 on the 70th anniversary of the South Korea-U.S. alliance at a Seoul hotel on April 25, 2023. (Yonhap)

odissy@yna.co.kr
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