The Korea Herald


National Assembly launches forum for potential nuclear armament

By Kim Arin

Published : July 9, 2024 - 18:19

    • Link copied

Rep. Yu Yong-weon of People Power Party (The Korea Herald) Rep. Yu Yong-weon of People Power Party (The Korea Herald)

The National Assembly forum for potentially arming South Korea with nuclear weapons, the Mugunghwa Forum, kicked off Tuesday.

The ruling People Power Party Rep. Yu Yong-weon, the Mugunghwa Forum’s founding president, said in remarks delivered at the inaugural ceremony that the forum will discuss policies and strategies for cultivating what he has termed the country’s “nuclear potential.”

“I am pleased that the forum is taking off on this day at the National Assembly, which represents the voice of the South Korean people,” Yu said. “I hope that this forum can contribute to developing strategies and building consensus for securing South Korea’s potential for nuclear armament.”

Faced with growing nuclear threats from North Korea, the first-time lawmaker said that the “realistic alternative” to becoming a nuclear-armed country was for South Korea to be cleared of limitations in uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing.

The ceremony, attended by the ruling party leadership, was held under the theme of “Preventing a North Korean nuclear catastrophe: Why South Korea can no longer put off securing a nuclear potential.”

Speaking at the ceremony, ruling party floor leader Rep. Choo Kyung-ho “vowed full support” so that the suggestions and ideas being put forth at the forum could translate into policies.

Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon, the ruling party’s former chair, said at the forum that when he raised the possibility of South Korea possibly having to arm itself two years ago, it was considered a moot point.

“Two years later, the tide in public opinion has completely shifted. According to one poll, about 80 percent of South Koreans support the country acquiring nuclear weapons,” he said.

“I think this reflects a sense of urgency in security. The importance of having greater independence in national defense capabilities cannot be emphasized enough.”

The forum is joined by 21 lawmakers, including Rep. Na Kyung-won, one of the front-runners for the next ruling party chair; Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo, a former presidential candidate; Rep. Sung Il-jong, the chair of the Assembly’s national defense committee; Rep. Kim Gunn, a former nuclear envoy; and Rep. Lee Jun-seok of the minor Reform Party.