White House shoots down GOP proposal for nuclear weapons in South Korea

The Obama administration has no intention of deploying tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea in response to North Korean provocations, the State Department reaffirmed on Monday.

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The comments come after Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee last week adopted an amendment to the 2013 spending bill that expressed support for more conventional forces and for the United States to “redeploy tactical nuclear weapons to the Western Pacific region” in response to nuclear weapons and missile tests by North Korea. The amendment also requires the State and Defense departments to submit a report on what it would take to redeploy “forward-based nuclear weapons” to the area.

"Our policy remains support for a nonnuclear Korean Peninsula, so we don’t have any plans to change that policy,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday. “Tactical nuclear weapons, in our view, are unnecessary for the defense of South Korea. So we don’t have any plans or intention to deploy them there.”

Former President George H.W. Bush removed nuclear weapons from south of the demilitarized zone in 1991. South Koreans for their part are split on the issue, with some conservatives in favor of bringing them back as a deterrent.