South Korea is negotiating with the United States to buy nuclear-powered submarines to guard against threats from Pyongyang, local reports said Tuesday, as President Donald Trump said Seoul would buy “billions of dollars” of US weapons.
Nuclear-powered submarines can stay submerged for months, giving them a far greater range than their diesel-powered counterparts, and are also crucial to any seaborne nuclear deterrent.
Such a purchase would redraw the balance of power in northeast Asia, and could trigger a regional arms race.
Japan — another US ally — does not have nuclear-powered submarines, and is barred from having a military under its post-World War II pacifist constitution.
And while China’s increasingly powerful navy does include them in its fleet, Beijing would undoubtedly be infuriated by any such acquisition by Seoul.
After a summit in South Korea with his counterpart Moon Jae-In, Trump on Tuesday said Seoul would be buying a large amount of US weapons “whether it’s planes, whether it’s missiles, no matter what it is”.
“South Korea will be ordering billions of dollars of that equipment, which for them makes a lot of sense and for us it means jobs, reducing our trade deficit with South Korea,” he said.
While Moon did not give specific details of the purchases, he described them as essential for national defence.
Full article: S. Korea ‘in talks to buy nuclear submarine’ from US: reports (Spacewar)