South Korea’s defense minister suggests return of tactical U.S. nuclear weapons

The Washington Post reports: South Korea’s defense minister on Monday said it was worth reviewing the redeployment of American tactical nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula to guard against the North, a step that analysts warn would sharply increase the risk of an accidental conflict.

But in New York, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was “begging for war.”

And even as concern over Korea deepened following North Korea’s huge nuclear test Sunday, South Korea’s defense ministry said Monday that Pyongyang might be preparing to launch another missile into the Pacific Ocean, perhaps an intercontinental ballistic missile theoretically capable of reaching the mainland United States.

President Trump and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, spoke on the phone for 40 minutes Monday night, Korean time — some 34 hours after the nuclear test and more than 24 hours after Trump took to Twitter to criticize Moon’s “talk of appeasement.”

The two agreed to remove the limit on allowed payloads for South Korean missiles — something Seoul had been pushing for — as a way to increase deterrence against North Korea, according to a read-out of the phone call from South Korea’s Blue House.

They also agreed to work together to punish North Korea for Sunday’s nuclear test, including by pushing for tougher sanctions through the United Nations.

In a later phone call, Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel came to the same conclusion, Reuters reported. [Continue reading…]

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