As the threat of war continues to grow, South Korean lawmakers are debating whether to develop their own nuclear arsenal. North Korean President, Kim Jong-Un, has conducted two successful ICBM tests in the last few months, the most recent traveling over 45 minutes before landing in Japan’s territorial waters. The rapid advancement of their missile program has renewed fears around the globe, that nuclear war is not out of the realm of possibility.
South Korea’s new liberal President, Moon Jae In, is not in favor of developing nuclear weapons, but an overwhelming majority of the country’s citizens don’t agree. In fact, a recent poll showed that the most South Koreans favor the idea. President Moon’s top National Security Adviser, Moon Chung In, blames President Trump’s alleged “isolationist” polices.
“Trump’s ‘America-first’ policy has triggered this kind of public sentiment,” said Moon Chung In. He also suggested that President Trump has wavered on his commitment to defending South Korea, including suggesting during the campaign that South Korea and Japan should develop their own nuclear arsenals. However, for the second time since May, President Trump has sent supersonic B1B bombers to drill over the Korean peninsula to demonstrate the U.S.’ commitment to defend Asian allies.
Regardless of their statement, President Trump isn’t alone in his feeling that other countries, like China and Japan, have a responsibility to help defuse the threat. On Sunday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said China, Japan, and South Korea need to do more to address the threat. On Twitter, Haley said the United States was “done talking” about North Korea, which was “not only a U.S. problem.”
While another country developing nuclear technology is the last thing the world needs, asking countries to share in the expense of defending themselves is not a far-fetched idea. In June, South Korea suspended deployment of the THAAD missile defense system, angering U.S. officials. South Korea and the United States have been bound by a mutual defense treaty since 1953, to aid each other in the event of war.
However, President Trump has previously expressed that he would consider withdrawing troops from South Korea and Japan, if the two countries did not start shouldering more of the costs of keeping troops in the regions. The THADD system alone, has cost the U.S. upwards of $1 billion dollars to deploy.