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Home > World > S Korea 'in talks to buy nuclear submarine' from US: reports

S Korea 'in talks to buy nuclear submarine' from US: reports

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Seoul: South Korea is negotiating with the United States to buy nuclear-powered submarines to guard against threats from Pyongyang, according to local reports 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 today 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.

Multiple South Korean media outlets said the two leaders ordered officials to begin the purchase talks "immediately", citing a senior official who gave an anonymous briefing.

"The strategic assets under discussion include a nuclear-powered submarine and a sophisticated surveillance asset," the reports quoted a senior official of Moon's office as saying.

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