South Korea and the US plan to deploy a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, strategic bombers and Taurus guided missiles mounted on F-15K fighter jets in Seoul as a response to North Korean latest nuclear test.
The South Korean National Assembly’s defense committee in its report state that its military will stage a unilateral live-fire drill involving Taurus air-to-surface guided missiles mounted on F-15K fighter jets this month, Seoul’s defense ministry was quoted as saying by Yonhap Monday.
"We will push for the option of deploying strategic assets such as the US carrier strike group and strategic bombers after consultation with the US," the ministry said.
“During his recent talks with US Defense Secretary James Mattis, he demanded that the US deploy its strategic assets to Korea on a "regular" basis. He made the demand, citing local politicians' calls for the redeployment of US tactical nukes,” Defense Minister Song Young-moo said at the parliamentary session.
Song, in addition, noted that during a National Security Council session convened shortly after the North's nuke test, top Seoul officials converged on the need to strengthen military measures rather than dialogue with the North in a sign of a possible adjustment to Seoul's rapprochement policy.
Referring to the North's sixth nuclear test, the ministry estimated the test's yield at 50 kilotons, much stronger than the previous test last September, which was estimated at 10 kt. One kiloton is equivalent to 1,000 tons of TNT.
In his assessment of Sunday's nuke experiment, Song said that the wayward regime is presumed to have reduced the weight of a nuclear warhead to below 500 kilograms.
In the parliamentary report, the ministry also said that it has continuously detected signs of the North's preparations for ballistic missile launches.
"To show that it has secured a delivery vehicle that can target the United States, the North could launch an ICBM-class ballistic missile," the ministry said.