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Korea-U.S. defense chiefs discuss possible deployment of tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea Updated: 2017-09-01 09:32:14 KST


Topping the agenda in talks between the two defense chiefs in Washington on Wednesday was how to strengthen their joint defense posture.
South Korean defense minister Song Yong-moo and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis discussed the possible redeployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea -- weapons which were withdrawn in the early 1990's.
Also considered was South Korea building nuclear-powered submarines to handle threats from North Korea's submarines and missiles.
Currently, the South Korean navy operates two types of submarines -- 214 level and 209 level -- which need to resurface every two weeks and two days, respectively, to replenish their oxygen, a process known as submarine snorkel.
However nuclear powered subs can stay operational indefinitely without coming up, meaning they could infiltrate deep into enemy territory and inspect key enemy facilities on the coast.
Another issue discussed by the defense chiefs was increasing the strength of the missiles in South Korea's arsenal.
The Moon Jae-in administration wants to double the maximum weight of South Korea's ballistic missile payloads to one ton.
Song said after the meeting that he and Mattis agreed on that issue.
They also agreed to speed up efforts to transfer wartime operational control from Washington to Seoul.
They plan to follow up on all those issues during the Security Consultative meeting scheduled for mid-October in Seoul.
Kim Hyun-bin, Arirang News.
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