The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

South Korea an­nounced this week that Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in and Pres­i­dent Trump will launch work­ing-level talks on Seoul ac­quir­ing nu­clear-pow­ered sub­marines.

The dis­clo­sure that Seoul could buy or lease cruise mis­sile-fir­ing nu­clear sub­marines would greatly en­hance the U.S.-South Korean al­liance by pro­vid­ing the South Korean mil­i­tary with a non-nu­clear long-range strike ca­pa­bil­ity as a de­ter­rent to North Korea.

The As­so­ci­ated Press re­ported that the pres­i­den­tial of­fice an­nounced the agree­ment for sub­ma­rine talks as part of ef­forts by the United States to bol­ster the coun­try’s de­fenses. South Korea also could pur­chase re­con­nais­sance air­craft and other ad­vanced weaponry.

Mr. Moon has been a sup­porter of seek­ing Amer­i­can as­sis­tance in de­vel­op­ing a nu­clear sub­ma­rine ca­pa­bil­ity since the gov­ern­ment first stud­ied but re­jected build­ing nu­clear-pow­ered subs in the early 2000s.

Rick Fisher, a se­nior fel­low at the In­ter­na­tional As­sess­ment and Strat­egy Cen­ter, said pro­vid­ing nu­clear sub­marines to South Korea would send a pow­er­ful mes­sage to China to curb its covert back­ing for North Korea’s nu­clear mis­sile pro­grams.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion re­cently sanc­tioned a Chi­nese mis­sile man­u­fac­turer for trans­fer­ring six trucks that were used as mo­bile mis­sile launch­ers by Py­ongyang.

“Help­ing South Korea ac­quire nu­clear sub­marines is a stun­ning con­trast to the pas­siv­ity of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion and starts a real change in Wash­ing­ton’s will­ing­ness to help its Asian al­lies ob­tain ef­fec­tive strate­gic ca­pa­bil­i­ties that will be sorely needed to de­ter Chi­nese mil­i­tary threats in the com­ing decades,” Mr. Fisher said.

Nu­clear sub­marines rep­re­sent a strate­gic ca­pa­bil­ity short of nu­clear weapons, and the United States should offer the same as­sis­tance to Ja­pan and Aus­tralia.

“China should also be warned: A re­fusal to re­verse its as­sis­tance to North Korea’s nu­clear mis­sile pro­gram and to re­verse China’s own mil­i­tary threats could leave the U.S. will lit­tle choice but to aid its al­lies who de­sire an in­de­pen­dent nu­clear de­ter­rent,” Mr. Fisher said.

China likely will op­pose the sub­ma­rine as­sis­tance as the first step in the United States help­ing to arm

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.