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Nuclear Armament Not the Way to Deter North Korea

If South Korea were to obtain nuclear weapons, that would not stop North Korea’s military provocations or deter its nuclear threats, according to experts on the North.

In fact, if anything, deploying tactical nuclear weapons would only give Pyongyang more reason to speed up development of its nuclear capacity.

While the frustration at North Korea’s behavior is understandable, the experts say, calls to reintroduce nuclear weapons in the South would do little to strengthen the deterrent and would provide more justification for Pyongyang to continue with its own nuclear program.

Following North Korea’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3, people in both the U.S. and the South are calling for the redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons.

Analysts said that the decision to reintroduce nuclear weapons cannot and should not be made quickly. The decision would have long-term political and strategic consequences both in the region and perhaps in the world as a whole.

Sean King, Senior Vice President of Park Strategies, says he believes that South Korea having its own nuclear weapons will not influence North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“U.S. nukes in South Korea won’t help the situation, as it only plays into North Korea’s propaganda hands,” King said. “I also don’t think Pyongyang would ever nuke the South anyway, as it wouldn’t want to spread nuclear fallout on territory that it considers its own.”

 

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