SEOUL, Sept. 8 (UPI) — A South Korean think tank is proposing Seoul retain nuclear-powered submarines in response to North Korea‘s sub-launched ballistic missile provocations.
The Yeouido Research Institute, an organization affiliated with South Korea’s ruling Saenuri party, stated nuclear submarines could be used to deter Pyongyang’s submarine-launched ballistic missiles, local newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported Thursday.
The think tank’s recommendation of “strengthening anti-submarine warfare capabilities” follows a North Korea SLBM launch, most recently on Aug. 24.
“So far surveillance of North Korea submarines has been conducted by reconnaissance satellite, but because real-time tracking is difficult, in order to detect and destroy [North Korean incursions] a careful review of the need for nuclear submarine ownership is necessary,” the think tank said in its statement.
The nuclear submarine issue was previously raised by ruling party majority leader Chung Jin-suk.
There is worry in Seoul, however, that the acquisition of the subs could raise concerns in the United States.
A defense ministry official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the JoongAng there is “no evidence” the United States could prevent South Korea from maintaining nuclear-powered submarines but Washington could place “pressure” on Seoul if South Korea chose to acquire the submarines.
The think tank report also suggested the establishment of a “red line” or limit against additional North Korea nuclear tests, the “redeployment” of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea if Pyongyang conducts its next nuclear test and the pursuit of military intelligence sharing with Japan, a plan known as the Japan-Korea GSOMIA, that was canceled in 2012.
North Korea’s SLBM test was at the center of a Pyongyang news article on Wednesday, according to Yonhap.
Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun stated the SLBM test marked a “major turning point” in the “200-day battle,” a mass mobilization movement in North Korea.
“Through the great success of the SLBM launch we have unleashed a frightening terror upon the imperialist reactionaries who are mad for a new nuclear war provocation,” Pyongyang stated.