Legislator: Two-thirds of South Koreans support nuclear arms

South Korea needs nukes.

That is the message National Assemblyman Chung Mong-joon gave in the South Korean legislature yesterday.  Chung distributed a handout which included a poll indicating that a large majority of South Koreans favor their military acquiring nuclear weapons as a counter to the threat from North Korea:

According to the handout based on a poll of 1,000 adults across the country from Feb. 18, 66.8 percent of respondents agreed the nation needs nuclear arms, with 34.4 percent ticking “strongly support the idea” and 32.5 percent saying “mostly agree.” But 29.1 percent disagreed.

AP Photo/ Lee Jin-man

Chung is the former chairman of the majority conservative Grand National Party.

Do not expect South Korea to go nuclear anytime soon.  Seoul is barred by bilateral agreements with the United States from pursuing nuclear technologies that can be used for weapons, as well as long-range missiles.  The Lee Myung-bak administration is seeking to renegotiate the nuclear treaty to allow a form of nuclear reprocessing in order to make its nuclear energy sector more efficient.

Chung has been a member of the National Assembly since the late 1990s. He gained popularity as the man who brought the 2002 World Cup to Korea and served as FIFA vice president. He ran for president that year but was eclipsed by eventual winner Roh Moo-hyun. He is considered a dark horse candidate for the 2012 GNP nomination.