U.S. subs in ROK raise concern

2023-04-27 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

U.S. President Joe Biden and the Republic of Korea President Yoon Suk-yeol at an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday. (ZHAO HUANXIN/CHINA DAILY)

The United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have vowed to bolster nuclear deterrence on the Korean Peninsula, unveiling a plan to dock American nuclear-armed submarines in the ROK for the first time in decades while issuing verbal threats in a development that could flare up tensions.

"We're not going to be stationing nuclear weapons on — on the peninsula, but we will have visits to — port visits of nuclear submarines and things like that," U.S. President Joe Biden said at a news conference with visiting ROK President Yoon Suk-yeol on Wednesday afternoon in the White House Rose Garden.

The United States withdrew its last tactical nuclear weapons from the ROK in 1991.

Earlier in the day, Biden and Yoon announced the establishment of a new nuclear consultative group in their Washington declaration to strengthen extended deterrence, discuss nuclear and strategic planning, and manage the threat to the nonproliferation regime they said was "posed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)".

On one hand, Biden and Yoon agreed that diplomacy with the DPRK is the "only viable" means of achieving lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and called on Pyongyang to return to negotiations.

But on the other hand, deterrence far outweighed diplomacy in their joint statement, which could also be felt at the joint press meeting.

At the news conference that followed an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn, Yoon said the arrangement under the declaration is "a new level of extended deterrence, much stronger" to a nuclear threat, while Biden issued a warning that such an attack would "result in the end of whatever regime" took such action.

Biden's warning underscored "a broad turn from diplomacy to deterrence", according to a New York Times report, which said Biden's blunt language about bringing about the end of a regime was reminiscent of his "bellicose" predecessor, Donald Trump.


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