Moon Jae-in

President Moon Jae-in has dismissed the notion of a nuclear-armed South Korea in an interview with the US-based CNN news network. He also opposed basing US tactical nukes in his country.

JoongAng Daily in Seoul says it’s a sign that Moon is reacting to growing public debate inside South Korea on whether the country needs its own atomic weapons to counter a North Korean nuclear threat.

“I agree that the South needs to bolster its defense capabilities against the North’s advancing nuclear and missile programs,” Moon said in the CNN interview. “But I do not agree that we need to develop our own nuclear weapons or bring back (US) tactical nuclear weapons to respond to the North’s nuclear capabilities.”

It was Moon’s first interview since Pyongyang’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3. The US withdrew its small battlefield nuclear weapons from South Korea after the end of the Cold War.