South Korea and the Nuclear War (Daniel 8:8)

South Koreans want their own nuclear weapons but doing so risks triggering a wider war

Jeff Daniels | @jeffdanielsca
Published 9:37 AM ET Thu, 24 Aug 2017
A man walks past a television screen showing file footage of a North Korean missile launch, at a railway station in Seoul on April 5, 2017.
Jung Yeon-Je | AFP | Getty Images
North Korea has nuclear weapons — and a majority of South Koreans support getting them too, but the consequences of doing so could be far reaching.
U.S. battlefield nuclear weapons in South Korea were removed in 1991, but since then North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests and achieved alarming success in its ballistic missile program. Based on reports, the North has the capability to produce several dozen nuclear bombs.
“It’s not really a good solution for a country like South Korea to remain non-nuclear when its neighbors are becoming nuclear and becoming quite aggressive,” said Anders Corr, a former government analyst and principal at consulting firm Corr Analytics.
Polling done by Gallup Korea has shown nearly 60 percent of South Koreans would support nuclear armament, according to Yonhap news agency. The largest support is found among residents age 60 and above.
Some suggest that the opinion surveys reflect the anxiety level of some South Korean residents about what the true aims are of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, an unpredictable and brutal leader known for taking risks. The 33-year-old dictator has become more forceful in threats and stepped up the regime’s missile testing program even as the communist country struggles against increasing sanctions.
“Given the situation we’re now facing a nuclear-armed North Korea, maybe it is time for the United States to really take a look at this option,” said In-Bum Chun, a retired lieutenant general in the Republic of Korea Army and now is a visiting scholar at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Reintroducing tactical US nukes
“We’ve been saying that ‘all options are on the table,’ and maybe we should take a look at this in more detail,” the general said. “Maybe the United States might think that this is another situation where Korea having nuclear weapons, or reintroducing tactical U.S. nuclear weapons to South Korea becomes an option.”
However, the retired South Korean military officer said that any discussion about Seoul getting its own nuclear weapons arsenal should first be done in Washington and should be started if it hasn’t already. Also, he said the assumption must be that if the North Koreans were to get rid of their nuclear weapons, so would the South Koreans (if they had them).
“The goal is denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Chun said. “There is still hope for sanctions and other means to persuade North Korea to give up their nuclear weapons. So we need more time on this.”
The U.S. currently protects the security of South Korea with nuclear weapons that can be delivered via bombers and submarines. Some have suggested that with South Korea having its own nukes it could perhaps respond faster than the U.S.
In recent months, the U.S. has demonstrated its capability to strike the North by flying B-1B Lancer bombers over the Korean Peninsula.
“The U.S. could back South Korea up with nuclear weapons but that could be a very dangerous proposition, especially if China (its closest ally) were in the war,” said Corr, who has experience in military intelligence.
North Korea orders more ICBMs
On Wednesday, North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency said its leader had ordered more intercontinental ballistic missiles. The regime test-fired two ICBMs last month, and data from the July 28 launch of a Hwasong-14 missile showed the weapon can reach half, if not most, of the continental U.S.
China’s semiofficial Global Times newspaper said in an op-ed this week that Pyongyang’s ongoing nuclear and missile programs “posed security threats to the Asia-Pacific region. However, a hard-line attitude or military strikes against Pyongyang would only provoke the country to take retaliatory measures.”
If South Korea were to arm itself with nuclear weapons, China would likely protest and probably take the matter to the United Nations as a violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which South Korea is a signatory but not North Korea.
Yet there also are concerns South Korea getting its own nukes could trigger a wider U.S.-China war because if Seoul were to use the weapons against North Korea, the regime’s longtime ally Beijing might respond with an attack of its own that might include targeting U.S. military bases in South Korea or the Asia-Pacific region.
Perhaps a hint of Beijing’s anger is its economic boycott against South Korea for allowing the deployment of the U.S.-supplied THAAD anti-missile shield, which China claims allows the U.S. and South Korea to look deep into China to monitor military activities.
“I think South Korea acquiring nuclear weapons is possible, but unlikely,” said James Acton, co-director of the nuclear policy program and a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Seoul could face sanctions
Acton said it’s understandable there’s uneasiness from South Koreans watching their neighbor to the north develop nuclear weapons, but added that there’s still not been a serious debate about the costs of acquiring nuclear weapons. “If there was a very serious discussion of the costs, I think you would find much less support for nuclear weapons,” he said.
For instance, Acton said if South Korea were to arm itself with nuclear weapons it would a violation of the country’s international commitments, which means Seoul “would be very likely to have serious sanctions imposed on it.” Also, he said the U.S. might decide to no longer offer its own security commitments to South Korea.
“The costs to South Korea of acquiring nuclear weapons are actually very, very high,” said Acton. “For South Korea, a country that’s become successful through international trade and engagement, the sanctions would be incredibly painful and damaging.”
Back in the 1970s, South Korean President Park Chung-hee secretly began a nuclear weapons development program. Once the U.S. learned about it, the U.S. pressured Seoul to halt the program. As was the case then, it remains U.S. policy to oppose the spread of nuclear explosives in the region.
At the same time, another option is the U.S. could redeploy tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea. But doing so would violate the 1992 Seoul-Pyongyang joint agreement on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang violated its end of the agreement in 2006 when it exploded its first nuclear device under Kim Jong Il, father of the regime’s current young leader.
Also, bringing back tactical weapons to South Korea could make the U.S. perhaps an even bigger target of North Korea and its communist neighbor, China. Pyongyang recently threatened to lob ballistic missiles toward U.S. military bases on the Pacific territory of Guam, which hosts the Air Force’s B-1B bombers and a Navy submarine base.
Reliability of security guarantees
“For as long as U.S. security guarantees are reliable, I don’t think South Korea has any need at this time for nuclear weapons,” said Acton. “The U.S. has pledged to defend South Korea, including if necessary with the use of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.”
That said, South Korea has “serious concerns about the reliability of those guarantees under President Donald Trump,” Acton said. He said Trump has done “a lot to disrupt the U.S.-South Korean relationship — and I think it’s very important that the disruption stop.”
Experts say the areas where Washington has strained the alliance include Trump’s threat to terminate a “horrible” trade deal with South Korea as well as suggestions in April by the president that Seoul should pay $1 billion for the THAAD (or Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) anti-missile defense system.
Also, Trump suggested on the presidential campaign trail that South Korea should pay more money for its own defense, even suggesting that if it doesn’t he would be prepared to yank the roughly 28,000 U.S. forces stationed on the peninsula. And after he took office some allies became nervous since Trump was seen as slow to support NATO’s Article 5, the collective defense clause of the alliance.
“Donald Trump’s statements about allies needing to pay their fair share and his hesitation about whether the United States would back up NATO’s Article 5 commitment … has all given people in South Korea greater anxiety about the American military commitment to help protect South Korea,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, a Washington-based research and advocacy group
According to Kimball, the introduction of nuclear weapons into South Korea, either by the U.S. or by South Korea pursuing its own indigenous nuclear program, would have far more negative consequences than some people might otherwise think.
“It would further solidify North Korea’s commitment to keep its own nuclear weapons and initiate an arms race in East Asia involving China and South Korea that would not be necessarily stable,” said Kimball. “The allure of South Korean nuclear weapons on the superficial level is understandable, but you look at the consequences and they would cause much greater insecurity for South Korea than they would provide security.”

The South Korean Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8:8)

South Korean soldiers stand guard at a guard post near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing two Koreas in the border city of Paju on August 11, 2017. As nuclear-armed North Korea’s missile stand-off with the US escalates, calls are mounting in the South for Seoul to build nuclear weapons of its own to defend itself — which would complicate the situation even further. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je

As nuclear-armed North Korea’s missile stand-off with the US escalates, calls are mounting in the South for Seoul to build nuclear weapons of its own to defend itself — which would complicate the situation even further.
The South, which hosts 28,500 US troops to defend it from the North, is banned from building its own nuclear weapons under a 1974 atomic energy deal it signed with the US, which instead offers a “nuclear umbrella” against potential attacks.
But with Pyongyang regularly threatening to turn Seoul into a “sea of flames” — and nagging questions over Washington’s willingness to defend it if doing so put its own cities in danger of retaliatory attacks — the South’s media are leading calls for a change of tack.
South Korea, which fought a war with the North that ended in a stalemate in 1953, is highly technologically advanced and analysts estimate it could develop an atomic device within months of deciding to do so.
“Now is time to start reviewing nuclear armament,” the Korea Herald said in an editorial Friday.
After Pyongyang conducted two successful tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile last month, putting much of the mainland United States within reach, the paper warned: “Trust in the nuclear umbrella the US provides to the South can be shaken.”
It urged Washington to deploy some of its atomic weapons to South Korea if it did not want to see a nuclear-armed Seoul.
The US stationed some of its atomic weapons in the South following the 1950-53 Korean War, but withdrew them in 1991 when two Koreas jointly declared they would make the peninsula nuclear-free.
But Pyongyang carried out its first nuclear test in 2006, and formally abandoned the deal in 2009.
Tensions have soared in recent months with US President Donald Trump this week warning of “fire and fury” against Pyongyang, which threatened missile strikes near the US territory of Guam.
The North’s military chief Ri Myong Su responded saying that if the US continued in its “reckless” behaviour, Pyongyang would “inflict the most miserable and merciless punishment upon all the provokers”.
The latest war of words between Trump and the North — ruled by young leader Kim Jong-Un — unnerved many in the South, even though it has become largely used to hostile rhetoric from its neighbour.
A conflict between the North and the US could have devastating consequences for Asia’s fourth-largest economy, with Seoul within range of Pyongyang’s vast conventional artillery forces.
“A catastrophe is looming,” the South’s top-selling Chosun daily said in an editorial this week.
“All options, even those considered unthinkable so far, must be on the table.”
‘Balance of terror’
In all the North has staged five atomic tests — including three under Kim — as it seeks to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the continental US.
A survey last year — even before tensions reached a crescendo — showed about 57 percent of South Koreans supported the idea of nuclear armament, with 31 percent opposing it.
“We need to have our own military options to overwhelm the North,” the Korea Economic Daily said in an editorial this week, calling for a nuclear weapon to ensure a “balance of terror” and prevent Pyongyang from attacking the South.
But a South Korean bomb would infuriate Pyongyang, which says it needs nuclear weapons to defend itself against the threat of invasion, and make bringing it to the negotiating table even harder.
“The so-called ‘balance of terror’ would only turn the Korean peninsula into the hotbed of a nuclear arms race, not a peaceful peninsula,” said Yang Moo-Jin, professor at the University of North Korea Studies in Seoul.
It could also trigger a “nuclear domino” in Asia, pushing others such as Tokyo and Taipei to seek their own arsenals, he added.
“Japan in particular would welcome it with open arms, because it provides a perfect excuse to revise its pacifist constitution and build its own nuclear weapons for ‘self-defence’,” he said.
Seoul’s defence chief Song Young-Moo said recently the South was “fully capable” of building its own nuclear weapon but was not considering the option for now.
Atomic arms are not the only way Seoul can step up its defences.
Song is pushing for the development of nuclear-powered submarines, although doing so also requires consent from the US.
South Korean President Moon Jae-In has also urged limits on Seoul’s missiles to be loosened in a conversation with Trump.
At present, Seoul is allowed to possess ballistic missiles with a range of 800 kilometres and payload of 500 kilogrammes. It wants the weight limit raised to 1,000 kilogrammes, and the Pentagon said Monday it was “actively” considering the revision.

The South Korean Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7:7)

Ben Kentish
As North Korea continues to test long-range missiles designed to carry nuclear bombs, the South remains heavily reliant on the US and its allies for defence.
Mr Trump’s isolationist rhetoric has caused concern among US allies, as have his calls for Asian countries to take on more of the cost of their defence.
During last year’s presidential campaign, the Republican suggested South Korea and Japan should develop their own nuclear arsenals in response to the threat from North Korea.
“Trump’s ‘America-first’ policy has triggered this kind of public sentiment,” said Moon Chung In, a national security adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae In.
Mr Moon is against calls for South Korea to develop a nuclear programme but polls suggest the proposal has the support of a majority of the public.
“They want to strike a better balance of power between South and North Korea, and I also support that position,” said Yoon Young Seok, an MP who belongs to the conservative Liberty Korea Party.
South Korea had been trying to develop its own nuclear weapons until the 1970s, when it gave up the programme under pressure from the US. It now relies heavily on the deterrent provided by the US’s 4,000 nuclear weapons.
It comes after North Korea conducted its second intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test in the space of a month.
The latest test raised fears that scientists working for the North’s leader, Kim Jong Un, had mastered new technology that could allow a missile to reach the entire continental US, American intelligence officials said.
Stabilising engines meant the test had greater height, range and power than the previous missile, which counter the effects of winds and other forces that can knock an ascending rocket off course, one said.

Why North Korea is not a Nuclear Horn

A view of a firing contest among multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) batteries selected from large combined units of the KPA, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on December 21, 2016. KCNA/via ReutersThe Surprisingly Simple Reason North Korea Has Nuclear Weapons

Robert E Kelly

Pyongyang knows there is no way to use their weapons for gain that would not immediately provoke massive counter-costs.

Since the launch of a North Korean medium- to long-range intercontinental missile this month, there has been much anxiety about Pyongyang’s ability to strike U.S. cities. It seems likely that North Korea can at least strike Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage. Some analysts have suggested Pyongyang already has the capability to strike the east coast of the United States. Skepticism may be warranted. North Korea may have trouble with missile reentry, guidance, warhead miniaturization and other technical issues. But nonetheless, it appears quite likely that if Pyongyang does not yet have the ability to strike the lower forty-eight American states, it will soon. Last month, I suggested the United States is on countdown of sorts. North Korea is rushing toward a nuclear ICBM, and Americans will soon be forced to adapt to it, or fight. It seems that decision fork is coming sooner than many expected.
Striking North Korea would be incredibly risky, and the United States has learned to live with other states’ nuclear missilization. Russia, China and Pakistan are powers whom Washington would almost certainly prefer were not nuclear. Yet the United States has adjusted. Each of those three, including Pakistan, has treated its weapons reasonably carefully. There has not been the much-feared accidental launch or hand-off to terrorist groups. All appear to think of their nuclear weapons as defensive and for deterrence purposes. Indeed, the offensive potential of nuclear weapons is curiously constrained. They would so devastate an enemy that conquest of said enemy would be pointless—who wants to take-over an irradiated wasteland? Plus, nuclear use would likely bring nuclear retaliation on the attacker, in which case any benefit of a war would be lost to the huge costs of nuclear destruction in the homeland.
This logic seems to apply to North Korea as well. In the most extreme possible scenario, where Pyongyang used nuclear weapons against Seoul to facilitate a successful invasion, the devastation in the South would be so awful, that one wonders why North Korea would want to invade at all. Due to the peninsula’s mountainous terrain, only a few areas of South Korea are easily habitable for large numbers of people. Nearly 75 percent of the population lives on 30 percent of the landmass. Those small areas—basically the South biggest cities—would be targets of Northern nuclear weapons in any such war. If North Korea were to win that conflict, it would then inherit those irradiated, blasted population zones, in addition to scarcely usable mountains. What would be the point of winning then? Of fighting at all?
Similarly, North Korean nuclear use against the South—or Japan or the United States—would lead to devastating American nuclear retaliation. South Korea and Japan have been treaty allies of the United States for decades. These relationships are about as robust as any in the U.S. alliance network. Countless secretaries of state and defense have pledged to protect Seoul and Tokyo. So American nuclear retaliation would almost certainly follow any Northern offensive nuclear strike. North Korea would inherit an apocalyptic wasteland in the South, while absorbing punishing nuclear retaliation at home—so punishing in fact, that the regime itself might collapse under the weight of the social chaos unleashed by American nuclear strikes.
And if that were not bad enough, one could easily imagine China attacking North Korea if Pyongyang offensively used nuclear weapons. China may tolerate North Korea’s nuclearization, but it is hard to imagine Beijing tolerating North Korea using such weapons to start a war. Beijing knows that China may well could be the next target. It is easy to foresee the United States and China working together to destroy North Korea if it aggressively used nuclear weapons.
Some fear North Korea might ‘hand off’ a weapon to rogue groups, but no states have done this yet. Others suggest nuclear weapons might be a method to bully South Korea into subservience or permanent subsidization. But so long as South Korea remains allied to the United States, it is not clear why North Korean nuclear blackmail would succeed. Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons level the playing field in the peninsula rather than shift it against South Korea.
In short, North Korea’s possible use of its nuclear arsenal is highly constrained. It fits the profile of other state’s nuclear weapons—great as an ultimate guarantee of national defense and sovereignty, great for national prestige, but hugely risky for the offense. It is not clear that North Korea can escape the issue of practical use which so many other nuclear powers have tried to solve. There is simply no way to use these weapons for gain that would not immediately provoke massive counter-costs.

The South Korean Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7:7)

South Korea considers its nuclear options

July 20 (UPI) — South Korea has started thinking about its own nuclear options in response to the growing nuclear and missile threat from North Korea.

National Assembly member Lee Jong-kul, who is close to President Moon Jae-in, said “the most effective deterrent to nuclear weapons is a nuclear weapon itself.”
“I believe we need a phased strategy for nuclear armament,” he told an audience in Washington, D.C., this week.
One phase would be the relocation of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea.
“[I]n the final phase, we should develop our own nuclear weapons,” Rep. Lee concluded.
His remarks about the return of U.S. tactical nukes was echoed by Dr. Hyun-ik Hong, a senior research fellow at the Sejong Institute, a leading South Korean think tank. Both speakers made clear that the Moon administration’s first step will be to propose renewed inter-Korean dialogue on peace and security on the peninsula, ultimately leading to denuclearization.
President Donald Trump signed off on Moon taking the lead on a dialogue initiative during their recent meeting.
Lee said that the nuclear armament proposals would be pursued if North Korea would enter meaningful talks and continued its missile and nuclear testing. The return of U.S tactical nukes to South Korea was one of several options offered to Trump by his National Security Council in April.
Tactical nukes were removed by the United States from Korea in 1991 as a trust-building measure prior to the signing of a Joint Declaration between the two Koreas in 1992. In it, both parties agreed not to possess, produce, or use nuclear weapons, and prohibited uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing.
The agreement has been extensively breached by North Korea. China is likely to react strongly to renuclearization in South Korea. However, some observers believe the prospect may lead China to take the North Korean nuclear threat more seriously. China undertook to prevent nuclear development in North Korea at the time of the 1992 Declaration yet has failed to deliver.
Lee was speaking at the International Forum on Building an Alliance for One Korea, organized by Action for Korea United, One Korea Foundation, and the Global Peace Foundation.

North Korea Will NOT Be a Nuclear Horn, But Iran Will

North Korean and South Korean soldiersSouth Korea Proposes Cooperation With North Korea to Prevent Hostile Acts

By Reuters On 7/17/17 at 4:52 AM

South Korea on Monday proposed military talks with North Korea, the first formal overture to Pyongyang by the government of President Moon Jae-in, and said the two sides should discuss ways to avoid hostile acts near the heavily militarized border.

There was no immediate response by the North to the proposal for talks later this week. The two sides technically remain at war but Moon, who came to power in May, has pledged to engage the North in dialogue as well as bring pressure to impede its nuclear and missile programs.
The offer comes after the North claimed to have conducted the first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) earlier this month, and said it had mastered the technology to mount a nuclear warhead on the missile. South Korea and the United States, its main ally, dispute the claim.
“Talks and cooperation between the two Koreas to ease tension and bring about peace on the Korean peninsula will be instrumental for pushing forth a mutual, virtuous cycle for inter-Korea relations and North Korea’s nuclear problem,” the South’s Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon told a news briefing.
The South Korean defense ministry proposed talks with the North on July 21 at Tongilgak to stop all activities that fuel tension at the military demarcation line.
Tongilgak is a North Korean building at the Panmunjom truce village on the border used for previous inter-Korea talks. The last such talks were held in December 2015.
Cho also urged the restoration of military and government hotlines across the border, which had been cut by the North last year in response to the South imposing economic sanctions after a nuclear test by Pyongyang. In all, the North has conducted five nuclear tests and numerous missile tests.
The South also proposed separate talks by the rival states’ Red Cross organizations to resume a humanitarian project to reunite families separated during the 1950-53 Korean War in closely supervised events held over a few days.
A South Korean security guard stands guard on an empty road which leads to the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) at the South’s CIQ (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine), just south of the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, February 11, 2016. The Korean characters on the gateway reads “Inter-Korean Transit Office.”
The South Korean Red Cross suggested talks be held on August 1, with possible reunions over the Korean thanksgiving Chuseok holiday, which falls in October this year.
The last such reunions were held in October 2015 during the government of Moon’s predecessor under a futile push for reconciliation following a sharp increase in tension over border incidents involving a landmine blast and artillery fire.
The proposals come after Moon said at the G20 summit in Hamburg earlier this month that he was in favor of dialogue with the North despite the “nuclear provocation” of its latest missile test.
In the proposal for talks, South Korea did not elaborate on the meaning of hostile military activities, which varies between the two Koreas. South Korea usually refers to loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts by both sides, while the North wants a halt to routine joint U.S.-South Korea military drills.
Moon suggested earlier this month hostile military activities at the border be ended on July 27, the anniversary of the 1953 armistice agreement that ended the Korean War. Since no truce was agreed, the two sides remain technically at war.
When asked if South Korea was willing to “be flexible” on military drills with the United States should North Korea be open to talks, Cho said the government had not discussed the matter specifically.
Pyongyang has repeatedly said it refuses to engage in all talks with the South unless Seoul turns over 12 waitresses who defected to the South last year after leaving a restaurant run by the North in China.
North Korea says the South abducted the 12 waitresses and the restaurant manager and has demanded their return, but the South has said the group decided to defect of its own free will. Cho said this matter is not included on the talks agenda.
In an act to rein in the North, the United States is preparing new sanctions on Chinese banks and firms doing business with Pyongyang possibly within weeks, two senior U.S. officials said last week.

Why South Korea Will Become A Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7:7)

As Pyongyang continues to ratchet up tensions, a growing number of South Koreans want their nation to develop its own nuclear deterrent. Photo: AFP

As Pyongyang continues to ratchet up tensions, a growing number of South Koreans want their nation to develop its own nuclear deterrent. Photo: AFP
North Korea stunned the world early last month by claiming that it had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb.
While many western experts and observers believe that Pyongyang was only bluffing, the bold announcement however leaves the world in no doubt about Kim Jong-un’s determination to press ahead with his brinkmanship and even “Mad Man’s Diplomacy”.
In face of the continued nuclear threat posed by the north, there have been calls in recent years among South Koreans for developing their own nuclear weapons. The idea gained more traction after Pyongyang’s third nuclear test in 2013.
According to a survey conducted by civilian think-tank Asan Institute in 2013, as many as two-thirds of South Koreans were in favor of developing their own nuclear countermeasures, and only less than half had confidence in the so-called “nuclear umbrella” provided by the US.
The main arguments for developing South Korea’s own nuclear weapons are as follows:
1. The success of North Korea’s nuclear program suggests that the so-called “six-party” talks have completely failed to check Pyongyang’s aggression. Besides, the Stalinist state has warned that it might launch pre-emptive strikes against the South if the need arises. Hence, Seoul is completely justified in developing its own nuclear weapons, people argue.
2. Although Washington has an obligation, under a Mutual Defense Treaty, to defend South Korea in case of an invasion from the North, the US has in the past two decades withdrawn basically all of its tactical nuclear weapons from South Korea. That makes it imperative for Seoul to develop its own deterrent.
3. Surrounded by nuclear powers such as Russia, China and North Korea, and given Japan’s potential for becoming the next nuclear power in East Asia, South Korea has to have its own nuclear deterrent in order to make sure it can always negotiate with its neighbors from a position of strength.
However, there are still a considerable number of influential figures in South Korea who are against the idea of development of nuclear weapons. Among them is Moon Chung-in, a professor with the Yonsei University and a former foreign policy advisor to the South Korean government.
Moon’s arguments are as follows:
1. If South Korea develops and deploys its own nuclear weapons on its soil, it might cause the US troops stationed along the 38th parallel to have second thoughts about intervening directly and immediately in case of an armed clash between the North and the South. It is because Washington might not want to risk getting involved in a military conflict that may escalate into a full-scale nuclear war. In other words, the deployment of nuclear weapons may backfire and put South Korea in an even more dangerous position.
2. A fully operational nuclear deterrence capability is a lot more than just rolling out nuclear bombs from the factory, as it requires a lot of supporting facilities and an entire framework of strategic and military planning to enable the bombs to produce real deterrent effect. In this aspect, South Korea has basically zero experience. Besides, US nuclear capabilities that have global reach are enough to deter North Korea.
3. The US and even China are unlikely to support any attempt by South Korea to develop its own nuclear weapons, because it may trigger a nuclear arms race in the region, and Japan will then have the perfect excuse it has waited for so long to build its own weapons, thereby endangering China’s national security and undermining Washington’s influence on Tokyo. Moreover, nuclear proliferation in East Asia is against the basic interests of US, Russia and China, and they will definitely not sit on the sidelines watching South Korea build nuclear bombs.
4. Since South Korea is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, developing its own nuclear weapons will definitely put it under fire from the UN and other major powers, thereby undermining international sympathy for Seoul. Besides, any attempt by South Korea to develop its own nukes may prompt North Korea to build more.
In the foreseeable future, I believe South Korean President Park Geun-hye will continue to observe the non-proliferation treaty unless Kim Jong-un’s brinkmanship spins out of control. If that worst-case scenario comes about, it is not totally impossible that South Korea may press ahead with its own nuclear weapons program regardless of international pressure, just like what Israel did in the 70s.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb. 2.
Translation by Alan Lee

The Korean Horns Will Unify

South Korea’s new president promises to help end nuclear crisis
Clifford Coonan in Seoul
Updated: Wed, May 10, 2017, 15:10
South Korea’s new president Moon Jae-in has pledged to do everything in his power to bring peace to the region and, in his first act as commander-in-chief, called the country’s top general for a briefing on the nuclear crisis.
A former commando and human rights lawyer, Mr Moon of the Democratic Party secured 41 per cent of the vote in Tuesday’s election, according to the National Election Committee. Although not quite a landslide, it is a strong mandate for the liberal’s conciliatory approach to North Korea and his pledge to rejuvenate the economy.
His election comes amid heightened tensions over North Korea’s nuclear programme. The country is believed to be preparing a sixth nuclear test.
In his inaugural address, Mr Moon pledged to end the Korean nuclear crisis by establishing a northeast Asia peace regime.
I will solve the security crisis promptly. I will go anywhere for the peace of the Korean Peninsula. If necessary, I will fly straight to Washington. I will go to Beijing and Tokyo and under the right circumstances go to Pyongyang as well,” he said.
After a phone call with South Korean general Lee Sun-jin, Mr Moon visited Seoul’s national cemetery to pay his respects to his late predecessors and war heroes, Yonhap news agency reported.
The White House was quick to send a message of congratulation to Mr Moon. His conciliatory attitude to North Korea runs counter to the more robust approach favoured by US president Donald Trump, who favours increasing pressure on North Korea with tougher sanctions.
Informal talks
There were reports from Oslo that North Korean officials began informal talks with a group of American experts, amid speculation that Washington may seek dialogue with Pyongyang.
Mr Moon’s election to the presidential residence, the Blue House, ends months of turmoil in South Korea following the impeachment and detention of conservative former president Park Geun-hye over an influence peddling and corruption scandal. Conservatives have been in power in South Korea for the past decade.
“I sense a heavy responsibility endowed by the people. My heart is full of passion for building a country that we have never had,” he said in his speech.
Mr Moon will need to build coalitions and alliances with the other political parties to get legislation through the single-chamber, 299-seat National Assembly.
He has promised a more open style of government, with direct press briefings on major issues, and also efforts to meet and greet the citizens in the markets and squares.
He was due to meet with the leaders of all five parliamentary parties, starting with the conservative party, Liberal Korea Party, which is now the main opposition party. Later he will attend a scaled-down inauguration ceremony at the National Assembly.
“The conflict between conservatives and liberals should end. I will talk directly with you. Opposition parties are my companions in the administration of state affairs. I will regularly talk and frequently meet with them,” he said.
He has appointed Lee Nak-yon, governor of South Jeolla province, as the new prime minister and Im Jong-seok, his top secretary during his election campaign, as his first chief of staff.

Why North Korea Is Not A Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8)

Image result for north south korea unifySouth Korea’s new president wants to reverse its North Korea…
5-6 minutes

SEOUL (CNN) – Seoul’s policy on North Korea is about to get a major overhaul.
Liberal reformer Moon Jae-in was sworn in Wednesday after winning a snap election to replace impeached President Park Geun-hye.
Moon has advocated dialogue with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in stark contrast to Park’s approach of tough sanctions and aggressive rhetoric.
Speaking at his swearing in ceremony, Moon promised to “resolve the security crisis as soon as possible.”
“If it is necessary, I will fly immediately to Washington and also visit Beijing and Tokyo,” he said.
“Under the right conditions, I will also go to Pyongyang. For peace on the Korean Peninsula, I will do everything that I can do.”
Moon also vowed to further strengthen the alliance between South Korea and the US.
While he was elected largely on concerns about corruption and the economy, North Korea loomed large after weeks of rising tensions in the region.
Return to sunshine?
A former special forces soldier and human rights lawyer, Moon came in for criticism during the campaign from hardline conservatives who saw him as weak on North Korea.
He has called for a combination of negotiations and economic cooperation alongside military and security measures.
“I am confident to lead the diplomatic efforts involving multiple parties, which will lead to the complete abandonment of the North Korean nuclear program, and bring the relationship between South and North to peace, economic cooperation and mutual prosperity,” Moon said in an April 25 debate.
His stance has been compared to the so-called “Sunshine Policy” of the liberal governments of 1998 to 2008. By no coincidence, he was a key adviser to those administrations.
During the Sunshine Policy, Seoul actively engaged Pyongyang, which led to closer relations on both sides of the border and saw two South Korean Presidents visit the North Korean capital. However, the approach ultimately failed to halt North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
Weapons testing
Moon, who takes office Wednesday, is unlikely to get a long honeymoon when it comes to North Korea.
Experts have been predicting an imminent nuclear test, North Korea’s sixth, for weeks now, as the country ramps up missile testing and saber rattling.
On Sunday, Pyongyang announced it had detained a US citizen on suspicion of “hostile acts” against the regime, days after it accused Seoul and Washington of plotting to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un using “biochemical weapons.”
During the campaign, Moon advocated for engagement with North Korea — particularly on the economic front — as the best method to work towards a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.
Such measures have not historically been popular with conservative administrations in the US, however President Donald Trump has vacillated between tough, militaristic talk on the North Korea issue and suggesting he could sit down with Kim himself.
Washington ties
The US and South Korea have a decades-long military and political alliance and Washington is by far Seoul’s most important bilateral partner.
Facing criticism from the right that his party is anti-American, Moon has played up Trump’s apparent willingness to meet with Kim, saying he is on the “same page” as the US leader.
However, one area where they firmly not in agreement is over the deployment in South Korea of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system.
The caretaker administration which took over after Park’s impeachment accelerated the THAAD roll-out, despite widespread criticism from Moon and others on the left, who have argued its deployment should be contingent on a vote in the country’s National Assembly.
Last week, Washington and Seoul announced that THAAD was partially up and running, and analysts have warned Moon may be able to do little to prevent its full deployment.
But analysts warn perceptions that the US ignored South Korean input on its own security issues — compounded when Trump called both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss North Korea, but the caretaker government in Seoul — have left a key relationship strained before it has even begun.
Washington was left in a delicate position after Park’s ouster, with several high-ranking administration officials — including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Vice President Mike Pence — visiting Seoul to shore up the alliance amid tensions with North Korea.
During their visits however, the US officials only met with caretaker President Hwang Kyo-ahn, who had already declared he would not stand to replace Park, and avoided any of her potential successors.
Copyright 2017 by CNN NewSource. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Creating the South Korean Nuclear Horn

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Why North Korea Cannot Have Nuclear Weapons, But Japan And South Korea Should
On April 28, North Korea launched a new missile test that furthers its nuclear weapons program. When opposing this activity the U.S. has been called hypocritical. The U.S. has nuclear weapons, goes the argument, so why should the U.S. deny nuclear weapons to North Korea (or Iran for that matter), which are sovereign states and therefore have the right to self-defense? Or, how could anyone argue that Japan and South Korea should have nuclear weapons, but North Korea should not?
The reason for the distinction, which some might see as hypocrisy, is rarely discussed by diplomats publicly. But I believe the distinction underlies our strong opposition to North Korean nuclear weapons — North Korea is an autocracy that violates human rights and international law and therefore cannot be trusted with this most destructive of weapons. Were Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, or Ukraine to obtain nuclear weapons for their defense against China and Russia, which I think they should do, they would not experience sanctions or violent threats as do North Korea and Iran. They might get a slap on the diplomatic wrist, and nothing more. This is not hypocrisy, but rather based on the core values exhibited by contemporary democracies, and their legitimate authority stemming from 17th-century philosophies of democratic sovereignty.
Let us compare the extreme cases — North Korea versus the U.S., U.K, and France. The latter three countries are mature democracies that have shown strong support for core international values like democracy, human rights, environmental sustainability and international law. They are not perfect, to which U.S. waterboarding at Guantánamo prison, rollbacks of the Environmental Protection Agency, and mining of Nicaragua’s harbor in the 1980s attest. But they are generally much better on human rights, international law, and environmental sustainability than is North Korea.
Because of this adherence to core values, global public opinion trusts these countries to have nuclear weapons, and to use them in a defensive manner that allows them to further these values globally, knowing that their nuclear capability deters retaliation. Countries with core values but without a nuclear deterrent, such as South Korea or Japan, have to be more circumspect in their advocacy of values when addressing aggressive countries like Russia, China, and North Korea. This is one reason why China and Russia are against Japan and South Korea obtaining nuclear weapons.
While Japan and South Korea’s sovereignty resides in their citizens, democratic deliberation and rights and responsibilities as established by law, North Korea’s sovereignty inheres in just one man — he is neither mature, nor does he support democracy, human rights, international law, and environmental sustainability. It is therefore far more dangerous for nuclear weapons to be in the hands of Kim Jong Un than in the hands of a democracy. His lack of respect for these core values makes him more liable to use those weapons in a way that grossly violates them. While the U.N. recognizes Kim Jong Un’s North Korea as “sovereign”, it is a sovereignty that has proved capricious and led to the violation of human rights. It is therefore a questionable sort of sovereignty that in my view deserves less consideration, if any, when compared to the mature and stable democratic sovereignty that is found in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.
North Korea’s sovereignty is closer to that envisioned by philosopher Thomas Hobbes, which is an autocratic sovereignty only justified by an anarchic state of nature in which life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” But that Hobbesian state of nature no longer exists in most countries, and so can no longer be used to justify autocratic rule. Indeed, the closest thing to Hobbes’ brutish state of nature is now the autocratic rule in North Korea itself.
The democratic world has long left Hobbes’ brutish state of nature behind. Democratic states are now based on a democratic notion of sovereignty envisioned by philosopher John Locke in the 17th century. Democratic sovereignty is only granted through the consent of the governed. There must be a representative body like a legislature. Democratic sovereignty must be wielded for the benefit of the governed. This is an approach to sovereignty that privileges democracy and human rights (rule of the people, for the people) over autocracies that violate human rights (rule of one person, to the detriment of others).
In North Korea’s lesser autocratic sovereignty, by this argument, should inhere fewer sovereign rights. Nuclear weapons are one of those sovereign rights that should not be granted to autocratic leaders, or to immature or unstable democracies, for that matter. North Korea is an extreme case and therefore useful to make the argument that autocracies should not have nuclear weapons. It puts into question whether other, less extreme cases of autocracy should have nuclear weapons. I would say not. Russia, China, Pakistan, and Iran are all lacking in qualities of democracy, human rights, environmental sustainability, and international law. Therefore they should not be trusted with nuclear weapons, which can do major damage to these core values.
Perhaps this is one reason China and Russia seem to support, or at the very least countenance, North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. If North Korea cannot have nuclear weapons, neither should the other autocracies. China and Russia likely know that if North Korea’s nuclear weapons development ended, it would put the focus of global public opinion back onto their own violations of democratic rights, human rights, environmental sustainability, and international law. Their own possession of enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world’s environment and human economy would be questioned. And, China and Russia do not need nuclear weapons. As long as autocracies make slow but steady progress on core goals like democracy, human rights, environmental sustainability, and international law, they have nothing to fear from democracies. Quite the contrary. They will be welcomed with open arms into the international community of responsible states.
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