SEOUL, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Redeploying U.S. tactical
nuclear weapons in South Korea would be against everything
Seoul and the international community have done to try to end
Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, the chairman of the South's
Defence Committee said on Tuesday.
South Korean Defence Minister Kim Tae-young had said
earlier he would consider all available options to counter
North Korea's pursuit of an uranium enrichment programme
including the return of U.S. tactical nuclear arms, which had
been removed some 20 years ago.
"If we were to redeploy tactical nuclear weapons (in the
South), it would be a serious blow to a far greater goal," the
chairman of parliament's Defence Committee, Won Yoo-chul said.
"The work of our government and the international
community to denuclearise the Korean peninsula will have been
all in vain," the ranking member of the ruling Grand National
Won said he spoke to Kim late on Monday who said his
comments had been taken out of context and that he had meant
the South and the United States were in consultations over the
full range of available options to counter the North's nuclear
"There have never been any discussions between South Korea
and the United States about bringing back tactical nuclear
arms, nor has there been any consideration of that," Won said.
The latest flurry over Pyongyang's bid to secure an
alternate source of arms-grade nuclear arms was triggered by
comments by U.S. nuclear expert Siegfried Hecker of Stanford
University that he had been shown more than 1,000 centrifuges
on his tour of the North' main nuclear complex.
The North said the centrifuges, which are the key
component to a uranium enrichment programme, were operational,
although Hecker said he and his team were unable to verify the
South Korea signed a pact with the North pledging not to
arm themselves with nuclear arms in 1992 after the United
States announced the removal of tactical nuclear arms from the
Washington has guaranteed the South's security under its
nuclear umbrella, referring to its nuclear weapons maintained
outside of the country.
(Reporting by Jack Kim; editing by Jeremy Laurence and
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