Story at a glance…
The US has announced it will make its South Korean nuclear deterrent more “visible” with regular submarine visits.
The decision comes on the anniversary of the recent Panmunjom Declaration made under the auspices of Trump.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol visited the White House to mark the occasion with karaoke.
WASHINGTON D.C. April 26, 2023. The US will work alongside South Korea to develop a strategic nuclear policy and frequently station nuclear weapon-armed submarines on the peninsula, according to an agreement announced by the White House marking the first visit of the new South Korean president to the US.
Released on Wednesday, before the East Room was festooned with guests watching President Yoon Suk-yeol sing The Day the Music Died karaoke style, it marks the first time that US nuclear warheads will be present on the Korean Peninsula since they were removed in 1991, and the first outright departure from commitments to reduce the reliance on deterrence with nuclear weapons.
It also came, unlikely by chance, on the 5-year anniversary of the signing of the Panmunjom Declaration between former President Moon Jae-in and Chairman Kim Jung-un.
That was the closest the Korean Peninsula had come to peace since the Korean War was concluded with a ceasefire in 1953, and the closest to a denuclearized Korea since the North first got the bomb sometime between when it left the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2003 and its first detonation in 2006.
“US officials said the nuclear-armed submarines will only ‘visit’ South Korea and that the US won’t permanently deploy nukes to the country,” reports Antiwar news editor Dave DeCamp. “But under the deal, the temporary deployment of US strategic assets to the peninsula will become much more frequent”.
The deal stipulates that South Korea will not seek to individually obtain nuclear weapons, something which President Yoon mused about earlier in his presidency, but which the Blue House walked back.