The DEFCON Warning System™

Ongoing GeoIntel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.  DEFCON Level assessment issued for public notification.  Established 1984.

Who is Behind the North Korean Nuclear Curtain?

North Korea’s nuclear capability poses a serious danger to the Republic of Korea (ROK). Such is the South Korean fear that, according to some polls, more than 70 percent of South Koreans want Seoul to develop its own nuclear weapons capability—a military option that is prohibited by the 1969 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

As an alternative, South Korean president Yoon Suk Yeol recently suggested that the United States deploy theater nuclear forces at a U.S. military base in South Korea while also enhancing joint Seoul-Washington military planning and cooperation. The threat from Pyongyang is, after all, an incentive for Seoul to secure a stronger U.S. deterrent commitment. Washinton rejected the former idea but worked to implement the latter.

This, however, does not touch the root of the problem: what are the chances the North Korean nuclear capability can be rolled back? Many observers continue to believe the North Korean nuclear programs were developed to protect Pyongyang from what the North refers to as a “hostile policy” of U.S. antagonism. The continued U.S. military presence in the ROK and the annual military exercises Seoul and Washington direct on and around the Korean peninsula is also often cited by the North as justifying their continued nuclear deployments. In addition, Pyongyang sees the cooperative military relations between Japan and the ROK as evidence of a joint effort by the two countries to harm North Korea.

In short, to the extent the United States and its allied military presence in the region is scaled back, the conventional wisdom is North Korea will be more susceptible to making concessions.

But what if such assumptions are incorrect? What if a more in-depth examination of the origin of this North Korean nuclear military capability produces a much different answer? After all, the North’s nuclear weapons are only one of the two net additional nuclear weapons states that have emerged since 1962.

Read more at National Interest

Ongoing Geointel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.


© 2024 The DEFCON Warning System. Established 1984.

The DEFCON Warning System is a private intelligence organization which has monitored and assessed nuclear threats by national entities since 1984. It is not affiliated with any government agency and does not represent the alert status of any military branch. The public should make their own evaluations and not rely on the DEFCON Warning System for any strategic planning. At all times, citizens are urged to learn what steps to take in the event of a nuclear attack.