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S. Korea banks on U.S.: envoy

P. S. Suryanarayana

SINGAPORE: South Korea firmly believes “if [it is] attacked by a nuclear weapon [from North Korea], the United States will use the same weapon” against the attacker.

In a conversation with The Hindu on the inter-Korean crisis, South Korea's Ambassador to Singapore, Oh Joon, said: “Both South Korea and Japan are under U.S. nuclear umbrella. That means: if we are attacked by a nuclear weapon, U.S. will use the same weapon. [However] there is no U.S. nuclear weapon stationed in South Korea.”

Mr. Oh did not imply the possibility of a nuclear strike by North Korea. And, the U.S.-South Korea naval exercise concluded on Wednesday without incident. But his articulation of the nuclear umbrella acquires importance because North Korea has atomic weapons and it has often spoken about them to raise its military profile.

Speaking to The Hindu from Tokyo, Japanese spokesman Hidenobu Sobashima said: “We rely on the U.S. for the security of Japan. Therefore, we feel that Japan-U.S. security arrangement is very important and we don't feel there is inconsistency between this security arrangement and what we pursue under nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.” He was answering questions whether the U.S. nuclear umbrella for Japan was an issue in the talks with New Delhi for a possible civil nuclear pact.

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