Saenuri Party Calls for “Introduction of Nuclear-Powered Submarines to Counter North Korea’s...

Saenuri Party Calls for “Introduction of Nuclear-Powered Submarines to Counter North Korea’s SLBMs”

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The USS Ohio (SSGN 726) with a submerged displacement of 18,750 tons, the U.S. Navy's largest nuclear submarine, arrives at the Republic of Korea (ROK) Feet base in Nam-gu, Busan, on August 13. (Newsis)
The USS Ohio (SSGN 726) with a submerged displacement of 18,750 tons, the U.S. Navy’s largest nuclear submarine, arrives at the Republic of Korea (ROK) Feet base in Nam-gu, Busan, on August 13. (Newsis)

Saenuri Party floor leader Chung Jin-suk said, “South Korea’s military should consider getting nuclear submarines that can deal with North Korea’s SLBMs,” during a meeting of the Supreme Council held at the National Assembly on the morning of August 29. The Ministry of National Defense expressed a cautious attitude, “No such decision has been made on the matter.”

Floor leader Chung Jin-suk said, “The U.N. Security Council issued a statement strongly denouncing the SLBM launch by North Korea in a unanimous decision on August 26. The SLBM launch is a grave threat not only to South Korea, but also to the security of Northeast Asia. The danger from the SLBM is even more severe than that of a land-based missile launch, because it is more difficult to detect where it has been launched from.”

He also stated, “The missile flew 500 km (311 miles), capable of striking targets throughout the whole region of Northeast Asia including South Korea and Japan, as well as Guam. South Korea, surrounded by sea at three sides, is vulnerable to North Korea’s SLBM threats,” adding that he and 22 other Saenuri lawmakers with the party’s Nuclear Forum released a statement yesterday calling for the deployment of a nuclear-powered submarine to solve the North Korean nuclear problem.

Saenuri party floor leader Chung Jin-suk said the military had pushed for a project to construct three 4,000-ton nuclear-powered submarines in 2003 under the Roh Moo-hyun government but the project was discarded. He called on the military to actively review the deployment of a nuclear-powered submarine that has the ability to remain hidden for a long time as well as a high-tech detection capacity and great striking power, in addition to boosting its alliance with the U.S. via the installation of THAAD and fortification of a nuclear umbrella. Then he added that the Saenuri Party would submit a resolution in the National Assembly denouncing North Korea’s SLBM launch and calling on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons, and asked for help from the opposition parties.

There are growing calls from the ruling Saenuri Party to build a nuclear-powered submarine. In regard to this, Moon Sang-gyun, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense, said at a regular briefing earlier in the day, “I think it is an expression of concern over the current situation. Nothing has been decided yet upon the nuclear-powered submarine.”

dew@newshankuk.com