S Korea mulls nuclear arms

SEOUL: As nuclear-armed North Korea’s missile standoff with the US escalates, calls are mounting in the South for Seoul to build nuclear weapons of its own to defend itself.
The South, which hosts 28,500 US troops to defend it from the North, is banned from building its own nuclear weapons under a 1974 atomic energy deal it signed with the US, which instead offers a “nuclear umbrella” against potential attacks.
But with Pyongyang regularly threatening to turn Seoul into a “sea of flames” — and nagging questions over Washington’s willingness to defend it if doing so put its own cities in danger of retaliatory attacks — the South’s media are leading calls for a change of tack.
South Korea, which fought a war with the North that ended in a stalemate in 1953, is highly technologically advanced and analysts estimate it could develop an atomic device within months of deciding to do so. — AFP