South Korea's nuclear decision : explanations for South Korea's nuclear motivation and renouncement
Thesis (M.A.)--Georgetown University, 2011.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. Can U.S. security assurances dissuade South Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons capabilities despite domestic demands for nuclear sovereignty? What would make the security assurances more credible? Is the rising demand for nuclear sovereignty in South Korea an attempt to develop a latent nuclear capability? To answer these questions, this paper will examine the credibility and effectiveness of U.S security assurances as a deterrent against North Korea's nuclear and conventional threats as well as South Korea's pursuit of independent nuclear weapons capabilities.; U.S. security assurances toward its allies are an indispensable factor to be considered in the study of nuclear weapons proliferation in Northeast Asia. These guarantees have both provided deterrence to North Korea's provocation of war and facilitated North Korea's ambition to acquire nuclear weapons capabilities. Despite the dual effects of U.S. security assurances, its nuclear umbrella has been the most credible factor in dissuading South Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons capabilities, despite rising domestic demands for "nuclear sovereignty."; From the U.S. perspective, the worst-case scenario of nuclear proliferation in Northeast Asia could be South Korea's acquisition of nuclear weapons capabilities. Based on its strategic alliance with South Korea, the United States has played a pivotal role in designing and employing South Korea's military and security policies. If South Korea decides to go nuclear, the United States will lose ground in managing its regional security policies to balance North Korea and a rising China. Moreover, a standoff between nuclear-armed South and North Korea would greatly undermine regional stability as well as the credibility of U.S. security assurances as a whole.; Therefore, there should an overall reassessment of U.S. security assurances toward South Korea and a strengthening of U.S. commitments in order to improve the credibility and effectiveness of U.S. security assurances and to prevent nuclear sovereignty from becoming a rationale for South Korea's attempt to develop a latent nuclear capability.
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