U.S. nuclear review reaffirms commitment to extended deterrence for allies: Seoul official

SEOUL, :South Korea sees the United States' latest review of its nuclear posture as a reaffirmation of its commitment to providing extended nuclear deterrence for its allies in the face of increasing threats from North Korea, a foreign ministry official said Sunday.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Defense unveiled its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which placed emphasis on the development of new weapons such as "low-yield" nuclear warheads and the mobilization of nuclear-capable radar-evading fighters.

"The latest NPR appears to place emphasis on strengthening nuclear deterrence to protect its mainland and allies in response to a changed global security environment, including growing threats from North Korea," the official said on condition of anonymity.

"Our government evaluates that the review has reaffirmed (Washington's) pledge to provide extended deterrence to South Korea and other allies. South Korea and the U.S. will continue to cooperate in enhancing the promised extended deterrence."

As for the pursuit of low-yield nuclear warheads, the official said it appears that the U.S. is considering the option as part of efforts to enhance its overall nuclear deterrence capability.

As for concerns that the latest NPR has made it easier for the U.S. to use nuclear weapons first, he noted the U.S. sticks to its longtime stance to use its nuclear weapons only when it is deemed necessary to protect the "vital" interests of the U.S. and its allies, which he said was also made clear in the previous review announced eight years ago.

Source: Yonhap News Agency