South Korean President Moon Jae-in says his country will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea.
In a speech before parliament Wednesday, President Moon also rejected the idea of South Korea either developing its own nuclear arsenal, or owning nuclear arms, and stated that both nations should adhere to a joint declaration reached in 1992 to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.
The president's statement pushes back against demands by opposition lawmakers to redeploy U.S. tactical nuclear weapons on South Korean soil to counter the growing threat from its bitter communist rival, which conducted its sixth -- and biggest -- nuclear test back in September. Pyongyang's continued nuclear and ballistic missile tests in defiance of international sanctions, have led to a war of words between Pyongyang and U.S. President Donald Trump, who has openly threatened to launch military action against the North.
But President Moon repeated a previous vow that no military action will be taken on the peninsula without Seoul's permission, saying it was up to South Korea to determine its own fate. He spoke of Japan's brutal colonial rule of the Korean peninsula in the early 20th century, and the post-World War Two division that ended with the creation of the communist North and democratic South.
The two sides fought each other in a 1950-53 war that ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving them in a technical state of conflict.