CND has called on the US, South Korea, and allies to back nuclear disarmament not nuclear use, ahead of the upcoming G7 summit in Hiroshima. It follows a joint declaration by the US and South Korea to increase cooperation on nuclear planning, and the first visit by a US nuclear-armed submarine to South Korea in three decades.

On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden and South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk-yeol issued the Washington Declaration on the planning of nuclear weapons use in the region. The agreement sets up two bodies: a Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG) which includes nuclear and strategic planning in regards to North Korea; while an Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group will simulate this planning through exercises.

US nuclear-armed submarines will also regularly visit South Korean ports and Seoul will be consulted on any nuclear weapons use on the Korean peninsula. In return for the re-deployment of US nuclear weapons to the region, South Korea will not seek to develop or acquire its own nuclear weapons to counter North Korea’s programme.

The announcement comes ahead of May’s G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, where Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hopes to hold discussions on achieving global nuclear disarmament.

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said:

“The decision to re-deploy US nuclear weapons to South Korea will do nothing to lessen nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula or deter North Korea from its own nuclear weapons programme. The average nuclear weapon today is many times the power of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The use of just one of these by the US on North Korea would have catastrophic health and environmental impacts not just for the North Korean population, but for South Koreans and the region as a whole.

With the G7 summit just weeks away, CND calls on the UK government, as well as the rest of the G7, to condemn all nuclear threats and to take proactive steps towards decreasing tensions with diplomacy and by forwarding the nuclear disarmament agenda.”

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