President Yoon Seok-yeol recently gave an interview to foreign media, in which he stated that it is “realistic and reasonable to respect the NPT and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty system at present”. The President’s Office released the interview with the Wall Street Journal, conducted in Davos, Switzerland.
In the interview, President Yoon expressed his confidence in the US’ extended deterrence against the North Korean nuclear threat and discussed the creation of a system for joint planning and joint execution of US nuclear asset management with the US. He also said that South Korea highly respects the NPT system and believes it is important to strengthen extended deterrence with the United States and strengthen security cooperation between the United States and Japan.
In response to Japan’s increase in defense spending and strengthening its defense capabilities, President Yoon said that it is not a big problem as South Korea, the US and Japan should strengthen security cooperation and jointly respond to the North Korean nuclear threat.
Regarding North Korea, President Yoon said that although it is difficult for North Korea to choose the economy over nuclear weapons, it is reasonable to respect the NPT system for now.
President Yoon also mentioned his plans to visit China in the near future, as both he and Chinese President Xi Jinping invited each other to a summit at the last G-20 summit. President Yoon is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the region, and hopes that the NPT system will be respected and adhered to in order to achieve this.