The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) is shoring up its push for the redeployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, in a move largely seen as strengthening its political position against the ruling Democratic Party with the controversial proposal.
Rep. Kim Kwang-lim, who chairs the party's policy committee, told Yonhap News Agency that a review is under way to include a tactical nuke deployment budget for next year as lawmakers review the government's spending proposal in parliament.
Since North Korea's sixth and the most powerful nuclear test last Sunday heightened the regional tension to a fresh level, the conservative party that has traditional taken a hard-line stance against Pyongyang has ratcheted up demands for the redeployment of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, which were withdrawn from Korea in the early 1990s.
The Seoul government, led by liberal President Moon Jae-in, has officially dismissed the demand, stressing its denuclearization principle. However, the talk of turning the country into a nuclear-armed state has intensified as Defense Minister Song Young-moo hinted at the possibility as one of many military options to counter the North.
"If we bring in the tactical nukes, (although it will be the U.S. in charge of the management), there will certainly be substantial costs associated," another LKP member said.
A group of some 27 LKP members later announced that they plan to send a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump urging him to bolster his move on the redeployment of the nuclear arms.
Earlier this week, the party said it will send a delegation to the U.S. to drum up support for its drive for the tactical nukes.
Aside from such moves, the party has published some 5,000 promotion kits to explain the need for the redeployment of nuclear armaments. It has also embarked on a nationwide social networking service drive to get support for such a step.
A Gallup Korea survey found that 60 percent of South Korean adults back the idea of their country going nuclear, while 35 percent are against it. (Yonhap)