Obama restricts nuclear posture except for North

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Obama restricts nuclear posture except for North

The United States will make an exception for “outliers like ... North Korea” in its revamped nuclear strategy, assuring South Korea that its protective nuclear umbrella will remain in place.

In an interview with The New York Times, President Barack Obama said North Korea will be an exception even after the United States historically narrows conditions under which it would deploy nuclear weapons.

The Nuclear Posture Review, which will include new U.S. nuclear strategies, was set to be unveiled after press time last night, Korean time.

Obama told The Times that in the future, the United States will commit to refrain from use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-armed nations in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even if they attack the United States with biological or chemical weapons, or wage a cyber attack. The exceptions to this policy will be “outliers like Iran and North Korea,” Obama said.

A South Korean diplomatic source said that U.S. officials had already assured their Seoul counterparts of the U.S. commitment to the extended nuclear deterrence. “South Korea is one of only four countries, along with Australia, New Zealand and Israel, for whom the United States offered explanations on its Nuclear Posture Review before its release,” the source said. “The South Korean government demanded clarification from Washington regarding its changed nuclear stance and we received all these assurances.”

Obama spoke to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on April 1 and told him the new U.S. nuclear strategy would not alter the nuclear umbrella for Korea. Kurt Campbell, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asia, gave the same assurance during his visit to Seoul on April 2.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed the sentiment during a phone conversation with South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan yesterday. Under the extended deterrence, the United States would react to a nuclear attack on its ally with the same capabilities it would use for a strike on U.S. territory.

The concept also includes the possibility of pre-emptive use of U.S. nuclear weapons. The U.S. decision to make an exception for North Korea comes as the international community tries to bring the North back to the six-party talks. In the past, Pyongyang used the U.S. nuclear strategy as its justification for developing nuclear weapons.

In 2003, North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the international accord limiting the spread of nuclear weapons. The North is among the nonmembers of the treaty that has openly tested nuclear devices and claimed possession of nuclear weapons.

In the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review, published during the George W. Bush administration, the United States reserved the right to use nuclear weapons for “immediate, potential or unexpected” contingencies and dubbed North Korea a “chronic military concern” that could be involved in such contingencies. North Korea at the time claimed that the United States was preparing to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike at it. It has since conducted two nuclear tests.

By Yoo Jee-ho, Kang Chan-ho [jeeho@joongang.co.kr]
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오바마 핵보고서 발표 … 핵장착 토마호크도 폐기

“한반도 핵우산 지속” 한국엔 특별히 사전 고지
미국은 6일(현지시간) 발표한 ‘핵태세검토보고서(NPR)’에서 핵확산금지조약(NPT) 가맹국으로서 이 조약상의 의무를 이행하는 비핵보유국에 대해서만 핵무기를 사용하지 않겠다고 밝혀 북한에 대한 핵무기 사용 가능성을 열어 뒀다. 북한은 2003년 NPT를 탈퇴했고, 2006년과 지난해 핵실험을 했다.

버락 오바마 미국 대통령도 5일 뉴욕 타임스와 인터뷰에서 “미국은 앞으로 자위 차원의 경우라도 핵무기 사용 조건을 크게 제한하겠지만 북한·이란같이 NPT를 탈퇴하거나 위반한 ‘국외자(outlier)’에 대해선 예외를 둘 것”이라고 밝혔다.

뉴욕 타임스가 입수한 NPR에 따르면 미국은 NPT에 가입한 비핵보유국이 미국과 그 동맹국을 생화학무기로 공격하더라도 핵무기를 사용하지 않고 재래식 전력으로 대응하는 것으로 돼 있다. 2001년의 NPR은 비핵보유국이라도 생화학무기로 공격할 경우 핵무기 사용을 배제하지 않았다. 미국은 또 핵무기 주요 운반 수단의 하나였던 토마호크 미사일도 폐기할 방침을 밝힐 것이라고 LA타임스가 5일 전했다.

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