Tags: seoul | nuclear | threat | korea

Seoul Vows to Strike First in Nuke Threat

Wednesday, 20 January 2010 10:06 AM

SEOUL — South Korea would launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea to thwart any nuclear attack by the communist state, Seoul's defence chief said Wednesday.

"We would have to strike right away if we detected a clear intention to attack (South Korea) with nuclear weapons," Defence Minister Kim Tae-Young told a forum, according to Yonhap news agency.

"It would be too late and the damage would be too big if, in the case of a North Korean nuclear attack, we had to cope with the attack."

Kim made similar remarks in 2008 when he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

North Korea reacted angrily at the time, temporarily expelling South Korean officials from a Seoul-funded industrial park at Kaesong just north of the heavily fortified border.

International efforts to bring North Korea back to six-party nuclear disarmament talks have so far made little headway.

North Korea abandoned the talks last April, a month before defiantly conducting a second atomic bomb test following its first in 2006.

Its foreign ministry repeated Monday it would not return to the talks with the United States, China, South Korea, Russia and Japan until United Nations sanctions are lifted.

The ministry also renewed a demand for early discussions on a peace pact aimed at formally ending the 1950-1953 war.

The United States and South Korea have rejected the demands, saying the North must first come back to the disarmament talks and show it is serious about scrapping its atomic programmes.

US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell will visit Japan and South Korea early next month to discuss regional security issues including ways to revive the six-party talks.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, 20 January 2010 10:06 AM
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