SEOUL, Sept. 21 (Korea Bizwire) – With North Korea’s military provocation continuing to pose a threat to peace on the Korean Peninsula, talks of deploying a nuclear submarine in response to the ballistic missile threat have reemerged in South Korea.
Amid the growing threats posed by North Korea’s submarine-launched ballistic missiles, also known as SLBM, it has been reported that South Korean military authorities have launched a study into the country’s defensive options, while government officials and experts have publically called for the adoption of nuclear submarines as an effective deterrent force.
Compared to diesel submarines, nuclear-powered submarines can remain submerged for a much longer period of time, and move at a faster speed to stay off the radar.
While reports have emerged that the U.S. government began discussing the prospect of the deployment of a nuclear submarine in South Korea after Song Young-moo, the Minister of National Defense brought up the issue during a defense ministerial talk with the U.S. last month, the official stance from the Ministry of National Defense and the Marine Corps is that there have yet to be negotiations in relation to the alleged deployment of nuclear submarines.
However, given the growing threats from North Korea, coupled with increasing public calls for the government to ramp up national security against the North, experts predict the issue of a nuclear submarine could reappear at the negotiation table with the U.S. sooner than expected.
Song, who is the first national defense minister under the Moon administration, is expected to mention the issue at the upcoming ROK-US Security Consultative Meeting scheduled next month, as he appears to be resolute on building a nuclear submarine as a way of addressing the threats posed by North Korea.
The reports reflect President Moon’s remark about the deployment of a nuclear submarine during a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump last month, as well as comments from Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon, who has previously said, “It’s time to discuss the deployment of a nuclear submarine.”
Currently, the U.S., China, Russia, the U.K., France, and India are the only countries to operate nuclear submarines.
However, military experts say that South Korea could build a nuclear submarine within two or three years if permitted by other nations, as the country possesses some of the world’s most advanced atomic energy technology.
The Korea Defense and Security Forum argues it could be possible to develop a nuclear submarine and purchase uranium from the international market publically, so long as the International Atomic Energy Agency is properly notified and it is made known to the world that South Korea has no intention of developing nuclear weapons.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)