If North Korea uses its nuclear weapons against the United States or its ally South Korea, would be “the end” of the regime of kim jong un, Seoul and Washington warned.
This severe threat came at a time when the South Korean president, Yoon Suk Yeolis on a six-day state visit to the United States, where he and his colleague Joe Biden They discussed strengthening the US security shield for South Korea in the face of North Korea’s increasing missile tests.
How significant is that assertive-looking statement? The following is what is known:
What is it?
The Washington Declaration strengthens the US nuclear umbrella over South Korea.
behold the regular shipment of a US nuclear submarine to South Koreasomething that has not been done since the 1980s, along with other measures, such as sharing information in the event of a North Korean attack.
But there are no plans to install US nuclear weapons in South Korea, and some analysts doubt the practical value of the statement.
“It is doubtful that the North fears a strategic nuclear submarine equipped with an SLBM (submarine-launched ballistic missile) with a range of more than 7,400 kilometers,” he told the news agency. AFP Cheong Seong-chang of the Sejong Institute’s Center for North Korean Studies.
The “too long” range of the submarine’s missiles could mean it could not reach North Korea if it were in South Korean waters, he explained.
Is it significant?
The state visit “represents a new high point in US-South Korean relations, with deep security, economic and cultural cooperation fully exposed“, said to AFP Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.
US officials compared the new deal to what Washington did when it was monitoring Europe’s defense against the Soviet Union.
Yoon has sought to reassure the distraught public in his country about the US commitment to the call “extended deterrence”in which US resources, including nuclear weapons, are used to prevent attacks against its allies.
A majority of South Koreans now believe the country should develop its own nuclear weapons, according to polls. Yoon has suggested that Seoul could do it.
Will Seoul receive nuclear weapons?
Absolutely not. And this could cause problems, according to experts.
“One thing became clear: there is an implicit understanding that Seoul won’t go nuclearsaid Soo Kim, head of political practice at LMI Consulting and a former CIA analyst. “A limit has been placed on Seoul’s nuclear ambitions,” she said.
Gi-Wook Shin, an expert on Korea and a professor of sociology at Stanford University, told AFP that the statement is “a step forward”.
However, “I don’t think it’s enough to appease the South Korean public, which is increasingly demanding that Seoul develop nuclear weapons of its own,” Shin added.
What will North Korea do?
Greater cooperation between their arch-enemies Washington and Seoul could worry the Kim Jong-un regime and could prove it with more missile launchesaccording to experts.
Publicly, “North Korea will tone down the US message of ensuring a nuclear deterrent,” he told AFP Chun In-bum, a retired general in the South Korean army.
But behind closed doorsthey will understand the message: If they use nuclear weapons, it will be the end of the regime,” Chun said.
After spending decades – and much of the impoverished country’s GDP – developing nuclear programs, Kim is not inclined to change courseaccording to experts.
“North Korea is unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons because of these threats,” he told AFP Yang Moo-jin, president of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.
The main problem with the Washington Declaration is not the text itself, but the political dysfunctionality of the United States. The pact could become worthless after the next presidential election, warned AFP Karl Fiedhoff of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
The potential return to power of former US President Donald Trump could spark “very serious discussions” in Seoul, he anticipated.
For the US-South Korean relationship, “the biggest challenge is something the alliance can’t even control: US domestic politics,” he said.
“There is great concern in Seoul about the return of Republicans, especially Trump, to the White House.. If he wins the 2024 election, he could trigger a very unpredictable twist in the relationship.”
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