South Korea’s Yoon says alliance with US ‘nuclear-based’

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said on Tuesday he has upgraded the country’s alliance with the United States to one that is “nuclear-based” in the face of North Korea’s growing military threat. Yoon was referring to his talks with U.S. President Joe Biden in April on Washington’s willingness to give Seoul more insight into its nuclear planning in the event of potential conflict with nuclear-armed North Korea. “North Korea is enhancing its nuclear and missile capabilities, and has legislated the use of nuclear weapons,” Yoon said in a speech marking South Korea’s Memorial Day. At their summit in Washington, the two leaders agreed to strengthen the so-called U.S. extended deterrence, which envisions the use of U.S. nuclear weapons to defend the South. “The South Korea-U.S. alliance has now been elevated to ‘nuclear-based’ alliance,” Yoon said. North Korea this year test-fired its biggest intercontinental ballistic missile and last week attempted to launch its first spy satellite, although the rocket and the payload plunged into the sea. North Korea made a rare and swift admission of the launch’s failure but vowed to try again and put a satellite in orbit to increase its military surveillance capabilities.