Global Zero Condemns U.S. Deployment of Nuclear Weapons to South Korea

‘Dangerous, shortsighted, and counterproductive.’

WASHINGTON, DC Today, U.S. President Joe Biden and President Yoon Suk-yeol of South Korea confirmed in a joint press conference new dimensions of the U.S.-South Korean security alliance, including plans to deploy U.S. nuclear-armed submarines to the Korean Peninsula — a first since the United States removed nuclear weapons from South Korea in 1991. 

In reaction to the announcement, Derek Johnson, managing partner of the Global Zero movement for a world without nuclear weapons, issued the following statement: 

“Nuclear weapons are a source of global insecurity and lie at the heart of the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. Adding more of these weapons to the equation, even temporarily, will not make the United States or South Korea safer or more secure. This is far more likely to aggravate, rather than alleviate, pressures in the region, which could boil over catastrophically at any moment.

“Ensuring South Korea does not go nuclear itself is an important objective, but the right approach is to deepen non-nuclear military, economic, and diplomatic cooperation with South Korea. It would be far better for the United States to invest in more intensive diplomacy with North Korea and build stronger ties with South Korea in other areas. By leaning into nuclear weapons first, this move can only be viewed as dangerous, shortsighted, and counterproductive. 

“By making these weapons more visible and salient in its relationship with South Korea, the Biden administration is stoking tensions and striking a blow to an already strained and fragile nonproliferation regime. Americans and South Koreans should demand the exact opposite of their governments, and insist on approaches that recognize nuclear weapons are the problem, not the solution. 

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