Seoul mayor calls for South Korean nuclear weapons

  • South Korea should build nuclear weapons to bolster its defences against North Korea, even at the risk of international repercussions, the mayor of its capital city said, arguing that the country cannot be bound by the goal of denuclearisation.
  • He has raised the issue before, saying in Feb 23 that the South should keep the nuclear option available. But his new comments are his strongest yet.
  • Oh, an influential member of President Yoon Suk Yeol’s conservative People Power Party, is one of the highest-profile officials to actively advocate for a South Korean nuclear weapons programme.
  • He is seen as a likely contender for the presidency in 2027. As mayor, he oversees Seoul’s annual civil defence drills and an integrated security mechanism aimed at protecting a metropolitan area that is home to nearly half of the country’s 51 mn people.
  • Surveys show unprecedented levels of public support in South Korea for the once unthinkable idea of a homegrown nuclear arsenal.
  • In a poll released on 1 Mar by Data Research, more than 70% of South Koreans supported developing nuclear weapons with 27% opposed; 59% said North Korea would probably use nuclear weapons if war breaks out on the peninsula.

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