South Korea's ruling party presidential candidate said he will seek U.S. support to build nuclear-powered submarines to better counter threats from North Korea and proactively seek to reopen stalled denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

In an interview with Reuters and two other media outlets, Lee Jae-myung also pledged to put aside "strategic ambiguity" in the face of an intensifying Sino-U.S. rivalry, vowing pragmatic diplomacy would avoid South Korea being forced to choose between the two countries.

The former governor of Gyeonggi province in October became the presidential candidate for President Moon Jae-in's ruling Democratic Party due to his aggressive COVID-19 responses and advocacy of a universal basic income. The election is scheduled for March 9, 2022.