South Korea plans to build nuclear-powered submarines

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The South Korea’s military has begun reviewing a plan to build domestic nuclear-powered submarines to better counter threats from North Korean submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), officials said Sunday.

That was reported by Yonhap.

“The Navy will commission a study soon on whether South Korea can develop nuclear submarines,” a naval official said, asking not to be named.

The move is in line with President Moon Jae-in’s willingness as he vowed during the presidential campaign to develop such weapons, saying, “We need nuclear submarines in this era.”

Supporters say having made-in-Korea nuclear submarines is the only way to respond to the North’s evolving SLBM threats.

But skeptics cite a nuclear cooperation deal between South Korea and the U.S. that allows Seoul to enrich uranium to a level of 20 percent when using U.S. ingredients, but disallows uranium enrichment for military purposes.

When Moon held a phone conversation with his counterpart President Donald Trump earlier this month to discuss the mounting military tensions here, he also broadly mentioned the need for the nation to have these subs.

Defense Minister Song Young-moo, who will visit Washington this week, is also expected to discuss the issue during talks with his U.S. counterpart James Mattis.

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