Yoo addresses confusion about U.S. military action on N.K.
SEOUL, April 21 (Yonhap) -- Conservative presidential candidate Yoo Seong-min on Friday cautioned against recent confusion in Seoul about U.S. military action on North Korea.
The nominee from the Bareun Party said there is no reason to hesitate to wage a pre-emptive strike if the North appears close to launching a nuclear attack. But he made clear he will oppose if U.S. President Donald Trump attempts at a preventive strike.
"We must distinguish between a preventive strike and a pre-emptive strike," Yoo, former chairman of the parliamentary defense committee, said during a debate hosted by the Korea Broadcasting Journalists Club.
"A pre-emptive strike is a preventive measure any country must take. If there are clear signs the North will attack us with nuclear missiles, what we must do first before we are attacked is a pre-emptive strike."
Trump aides' recent remarks that all options are on the table in dealing with Pyongyang sparked widespread talk here about its possible military steps without a clear distinction of the two kinds of action.
If Trump called for a preventive strike, he would firmly say no, he added.
"If the signs are clear and we still don't carry out a pre-emptive strike, (the president) would not be qualified to be the commander-in-chief," he added.
Meanwhile, Yoo refused to bow to pressure from some members of his party to drop out of the presidential race despite his single-digit approval rating.
"I was nominated through a democratic process," he said. "(Their demand) damages the basis of democracy." The presidential election is set for May 9.
Yoo Seong-min, presidential nominee of the Bareun Party, speaks during a debate hosted by the Korea Broadcasting Journalists Club in Seoul on April 21, 2017. (Yonhap)