MOSCOW (Sputnik) – South Korean Foreign Ministry reaffirmed Seoul’s commitment to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, the ministry’s spokesman, Cho June-hyuck, said on Thursday.
“Our basic stance is to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula through a complete nuclear disarmament in the North,” Cho said at a briefing, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.
According to the news agency, the statement seemingly rejects the idea of redeploying US tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea that was brought up earlier this week.
On Wednesday, the broadcaster reported, citing a senior government official on conditions of anonymity, that South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo raised the issue of US tactical nuclear weapons redeployment with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis during their meeting in Washington.
US tactical nuclear weapons were removed from the country in late 1991 as part of Seoul’s denuclearization agreement with Pyongyang.
The situation on the Korean Peninsula has become aggravated in recent months due to Pyongyang’s missile launches and nuclear tests, all conducted in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions. The most recent test was conducted on Tuesday, when North Korea launched an intermediate-range Hwasong-12 ballistic missile, which flew over Japan before falling into the Pacific Ocean 733 miles east of Japan’s northern island Hokkaido.
In an effort to alleviate the situation, Beijing proposed a “double freeze” scenario in late June, in which North Korea ceases its nuclear missile tests, while the United States and South Korea simultaneously halt its military drills. The initiative has been backed by Moscow but rejected by Washington; Pyongyang has not yet offered up an official response.