S.Korea's ruling party raises need for atomic armament after DPRK's nuke test

2016-01-07 07:07:39 GMT2016-01-07 15:07:39(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

SEOUL, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's ruling political party on Thursday raised the need for the country's atomic armament after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s fourth nuclear test.

Won Yoo-Cheol, floor leader of the Saenuri Party who is known to be close to President Park Geun-hye, said at a meeting of senior party members that"it is time for us to have nuclear power of peace"from the perspective of self-defense to fight against the DPRK's nuclear power of terror and destruction.

Won reportedly said that the time has come to make an overall re-examination of the country's strategy to solve the DPRK's nuclear issue given the fact that the DPRK already finished its fourth nuclear test.

The floor leader, however, noted that it would be the most desirable to peacefully solve the nuclear issue through dialogue.

Kim Jung-Hoon, the governing party's chief policymaker, said that South Korea is isolated from nuclear devices in the region as China, Russia and the DPRK are all armed with nuclear devices.

Kim noted that Japan is capable of being armed with nuclear weapons at any time because the country has been enriching uranium, saying that South Korea's isolation is a serious threat to its security.

The calls from the party leaders came just a day after the DPRK announced its first successful test of a "hydrogen bomb," the fourth in total. The previous tests were conducted in 2006, 2009 and 2013 each.

Dismissing the calls, South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-Koo told the parliamentary defense committee that the government has maintained a consistent position that both producing and bringing nuclear weapons into the Korean Peninsula are prevented.

Han noted that various calls could come from the parliament, which represents various voices of the people.

South Korea is banned from arming itself with nuclear devices as the country is a member of the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), and the United States has opposed to Seoul's nuclear weapons development.

Such calls from politicians, however, may cause the United States to deploy its atomic devices in South Korea. The U.S. nuclear devices were drawn off from South Korea in 1992 when the two Koreas declared the denuclearization of the peninsula.

Kim Eul-Dong, the ruling party's senior member, said during the party meeting that unless the country's nuclear development is allowed, the U.S. strategic nuclear weapons should be re-deployed or other corresponding actions should be taken.

A defense ministry official was quoted by Yonhap news agency as saying that South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Lee Sun-Jin and Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), discussed whether to deploy the U.S. strategic assets on the Korean Peninsula.

The strategic assets include a nuclear-powered submarine, a B-52 bomber and a F-22 stealth fighter jet, according to the report.

The opposition Together Democratic Party denounced the ruling party's call for nuclear armament, saying that the denuclearized peninsula should never be dropped as it was jointly signed by the two Koreas in 1992.

The opposition party called the governing party's demand a very dangerous idea that will boost security anxieties of the people.

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