East Asia

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 1–21 | Cite as

South Korea’s Deterrence Strategy Against North Korea’s WMD

Article
  • 175 Downloads

Abstract

This paper examines how South Korea might be able to deter the growing threat from North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs. North Korea’s six nuclear weapons experiments with various types of missile test fires using solid fuel and new technology pose a security threat to South Korea and the USA. The credibility of the North’s WMD capability and the military balance of two Koreas are critically analyzed. South Korea’s superior conventional weapons system, supported by U.S. strategic weapons and intelligence systems, could fend off North Korean nuclear weapons and missile attacks. However, it is imperative that the U.S.-ROK alliance continues to develop a stringent nuclear deterrence strategy and deploy a series of countermeasures, including preemptive strikes and a multilayered missile defense system, such as Kill Chain, KAMD, and THAAD, all to guard against a potential nuclear weapon attack from North Korea.

Keywords

North Korea South Korea U.S.-ROK alliance Nuclear weapon Deterrence strategy THAAD 

References

  1. 1.
    Political News Team (2017). Kim Jong Un Supervises Test-launch of Inter-continental Ballistic Rocket Hwasong-14. The Rodong Sinmun. July 5. http://www.rodong.rep.kp/en/index.php?strPageID=SF01_02_01&newsID=2017-07-05-0001. [Accessed 8 July 2017].
  2. 2.
    Choe, Sang-hun and David E. Sanger (2017). North Korea Says It Tested a Hydrogen Bomb Meant for Missiles. The New York Times. September 2, A10.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sanger, David E. and William J. Broad (2017). North Korean Tests Add Urgency for U.S. to Fix Defense Flaws. The New York Times. May 29. A1.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cooper, Helene and David E. Sanger (2017). Missile Defense Test Succeeds, Pentagon Says, Amid Tensions With North Korea. The New York Times. May 31. A8.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    The United Nations (2016). Security Council Imposes Fresh Sanctions on Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2270 (2016), SC/12267. United Nations Meeting Coverage and Press Releases. March 2. http://www.un.org/press/en/2016/sc12267.doc.htm. [Accessed 8 march 2016].
  6. 6.
    The United Nations (2017). UN Documents for DPRK. http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/un-documents/dprk-north-korea/. [Accessed 4 August 2017].
  7. 7.
    The United Nations (2017). The United Nations Security Council Resolution 2371. http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/2371(2017). [Accessed 27 August 2017].
  8. 8.
    Rodong News Team (2017). DPRK Will Bolster Nuclear Deterrence at Maximum Speed: Foreign Ministry Spokesman. The Rodong Sinmun, May 3. http://www.rodong.rep.kp/en/index.php?strPageID=SF01_03_02&stit=nuclear&imf=1. [Accessed 5 May 2017].
  9. 9.
    Korea Central News Agency (2015), Kim Jong Un Has Photo Session with People Who Contributed to Successful Test-fire of SLBM. May 26. http://www.kcna.kp/kcna.user.article.retrieveNewsViewInfoList.kcmsf#this. [Accessed 28 May 2015].
  10. 10.
    Gladstone, Rick (2017). U.N. Imposes Strick Penalties on North Korea. The New York Times. August 6, A11.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    38 North (2017). Informed Analysis of Events in and Around North Korea. December 15. http://www.38north.org/. [Accessed 15 December 2017].
  12. 12.
    Kwon, K. J. (2012). North Korean Proclaims Itself a Nuclear State in New Constitution. CNN. March 31. http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/31/world/asia/north-korea-nuclear-constitution/index.html. [Accessed 4 June 2012].
  13. 13.
    Naenara.com (2012). The Korean Version of Preamble of the DPRK’s Constitution. May 20. http://naenara.com.kp/ko/great/constitution.php. [Accessed 20 July 2013].
  14. 14.
    Korea Central News Agency (2013) Report on Plenary Meeting of WPK Central Committee. March 31. http://www.nkeconwatch.com/2013/04/01/2013-plenary-meeting-of-wpk-central-committee-and-supreme-peoples-assembly/. [Accessed 5 September 2016].
  15. 15.
    The Rodong Sinmun (2017). Kim Jong Un’s New Year Address. January 2. http://www.rodong.rep.kp/en/index.php?strPageID=SF01_02_01&newsID=2017-01-02-0001. [Accessed 4 January 2017].
  16. 16.
    Rodong News Team (2017). DPRK Nuclear Weapons Institute on Successful Test of H-bomb for ICBM. The Rodong Sinmun. September 4. http://www.rodong.rep.kp/en/index.php?strPageID=SF01_02_01&newsID=2017-09-04-0009. [Accessed 6 September 2017].
  17. 17.
    The Rodong Sinmun (2017). Report of DPRK Academy of Defence Science. July 4. http://www.rodong.rep.kp/en/index.php?strPageID=SF01_02_01&newsID=2017-07-04-0016. [Accessed 5 July 2017].
  18. 18.
    The United States Department of State (2017). Statement by Secretary Tillerson. July 4. https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2017/07/272340.htm. [Accessed 8 July 2017].
  19. 19.
    Political News Team (2017). “Kim Jong Un Guides Second Test-fire of ICBM Hwasong-14,” The Rodong Sinmun, 29 July 2017, http://www.rodong.rep.kp/en/index.php?strPageID=SF01_02_01&newsID=2017-07-29-0001. [Accessed 1 August 2017].
  20. 20.
    Sanger, David E., Sang-Hun Choe, and William J. Broad (2017). North Korea Tests a Ballistic Missile That Experts Say Could Hit California. The New York Times. July 29. A1.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Landler, Mark, Sang-hun Choe, and Helene Cooper (2017). North Korea Fires a Ballistic Missile, in a Further Challenge to Trump. New York Times, November 29. A1.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Mullen, Mike, Sam Nunn, and Adam Mount (2016). A Sharper Choice on North Korea: Engaging China for a Stable Northeast Asia. Independent Task Force Report, no. 74. New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press, September.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Rodong News Team (2016). DPRK Succeeds in Nuclear Warhead Explosion Test. The Rodong Sinmun. September 12. http://www.rodong.rep.kp/en/index.php?strPageID=SF01_02_01&newsID=2016-09-12-0019. [Accessed 17 September 2016].
  24. 24.
    Berlinger, Joshua (2017). North Korea’s Missile Tests By the Numbers. CNN, June 13. http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/29/asia/north-korea-missile-tests/. [Accessed 13 June 2017].
  25. 25.
    Cha, Victor (2002). North Korea’s Weapons of Mass Destruction: Badges, Shields, or Swords?. Political Science Quarterly, 117 (2), 209–230. Summer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Eberstadt, Nicholas (2005). North Korea’s Weapons Quest. The National Interest, (80), 49–52. Summer.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Kristensen, Hans M. and Robert S. Norris (2016). United States Nuclear Forces, 2016. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 72 (2), 63–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Martin, Curtis H. (2002). Rewarding North Korea: Theoretical Perspectives on the 1994 Agreed Framework. Journal of Peace Research, 39 (1), 51–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Office of the Secretary of Defense (2015). Military and Security Developments Involving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: Report to Congress. Washing D.C.: Department of Defense.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Cha, Victor (2009). What Do They Really Want?: Obama’s North Korea Conundrum. The Washington Quarterly, 32 (4), 119–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Sagan, Scott D. (1996/7). Why Do States Build Nuclear Weapons?: Three Models in Search of a Bomb,” International Security, 21 (3), 54–86. Winter.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Haggard, Stephan and Marcus Noland (2007). Famine in North Korea: Markets, Aid, and Reform. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Suh, Jae-Jung (2004). Assessing the Military Balance in Korea. Asian Perspective, 28 (4), 63–88.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    The International Institute for Strategic Studies (2015). Military Balance 2015. London: Arundel House.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    The International Institute for Strategic Studies (2017). The Military Balance 2017. London: Arundel House.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Global Security.org (2016). K1A1 Main Battle Tank. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/rok/k1a1.htm. [Accessed 1 November 2016].
  37. 37.
    Maass, Ryan (2016). Lockheed Martin Contracted for South Korean F-35 Integration Work. UPI. December 30. https://www.upi.com/Defense-News/2016/12/30/Lockheed-Martin-contracted-for-South-Korean-F-35-integration-work/9331483103818. [Accessed 31 December 2016].
  38. 38.
    Bermudez Jr., Joseph S. (2014). New North Korean Helicopter Frigates Spotted. 38 North. May 15. http://www.38north.org/2014/05/jbermudez051514/. [Accessed 21 October 2017].
  39. 39.
    Military Factory.com (2017). ROKS Dokdo (LPH-6111) Helicopter Carrier/Amphibious Assault Ship. November 21. https://www.militaryfactory.com/ships/detail.asp?ship_id=roks-dokdo-lph6111-amphibious-assault-ship-south-korea. [Accessed 3 December 2017].
  40. 40.
    Choe, Sang-hun (2016). North Korea Test-Fire Missile from Submarine. The New York Times. August 24. A6.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Lee, Chi-dong (2017). Nuclear Sub Fuel, Spy Satellites Likely on S. Korea’s Shopping List. The Yonhap News. September 22. http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2017/09/22/96/0301000000AEN20170922009200315F.html. [Accessed 7 December 2017].
  42. 42.
    Cordesman, Anthony H. and Aaron Lin (2016). The Changing Military Balance in the Korea and The Conventional Military Balance in the Koreas and Northeast Asia. Washington D.C.: Center for Strategic & International Studies.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Military Expenditure Database. http://www.sipri.org/research/armaments/milex/milex_database. [Accessed 5 July 2017].
  44. 44.
    Laurence, Jeremy and Danbee Moon (2011). North Korea Spends About A Third of Income on Military. Reuters, January 18. http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCATRE70H1BW20110118?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0. [Accessed 25 August 2016].
  45. 45.
    Suh, Dae-sook (2002). Military-first Politics of Kim Jong Il. Asian Perspective, 26 (3), 146–167.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Reuters (2014). S. Korea Announces Plan to Buy Northrop Grumman Global Hawks. March 24. http://www.reuters.com/article/northrop-korea-globalhawk-idUSL4N0MK0BF20140324. [Accessed 25 March 2016].
  47. 47.
    The Yonhap News (2017). S. Korea Set to Mass-Produce New Missile Interceptor. June 16. http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/search1/2603000000.html?cid=AEN20170617001400315. [Accessed 17 June 2017].
  48. 48.
    The Yonhap News (2017). Moon Inspects Test Firing of New Missile in Warning to N. Korea. June 23. http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/search1/2603000000.html?cid=AEN20170623006352315. [Accessed 24 June 2017].
  49. 49.
    Lee, Taehoon and James Griffiths (2017). South Korea Suspends THAAD deployment. CNN. June 8. http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/07/asia/south-korea-thaad-suspended/. [Accessed 9 June 2017].
  50. 50.
    Choe, Sang-hun and David E. Sanger (2017). After North Korea Test, South Korea Pushes to Build Up Its Own Missiles. The New York Times, July 30. A1.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    The Yonhap News (2017). Moon, Trump Agree to Remove Limit on Payload of S. Korean Missiles. September 5. http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2017/09/05/0200000000AEN20170905000500315.html. [Accessed 6 September 2017].
  52. 52.
    Kwon, Edward (2014). The U.S.-ROK Alliance in Coping with North Korea’s Nuclear Threat. The Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, 26 (3), 487–503. December.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Sullivan, Eileen and Helene Cooper (2017). U.S. Tests Unarmed Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. The New York Times, August 2. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/world/asia/united-states-tests-unarmed-intercontinental-ballistic-missile.html. [Accessed 2 August 2017].
  54. 54.
    Zagare, Frank C. (2004). Reconciling Rationality with Deterrence: A Re-examination of the Logical Foundations of Deterrence Theory. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 16 (2), 107–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Huth, Paul K. (1990). The Extended Deterrent Value of Nuclear Weapons. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 34 (2), 270–290. June.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Gompert, David C. (2013). North Korea: Preparing for the End. Survival, 55 (3), 21–46. June–July.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    O’Hanlong, Michael (1998). Stopping North Korean Invasion: Why Defending South Kora Is Easier than the Pentagon Thinks. International Security, 22 (4), 135–170. Spring.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    The United States Forces Korea (2015). Full Text of 47 th ROK-U.S. Joint Communique. November 1. http://www.usfk.mil/Media/News/Article/626859/full-text-of-47th-rok-us-joint-communique/[Accessed 5 December 2016].
  59. 59.
    Global Security.org (2017). OPLAN 5015. August 21. www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/oplan-5015.htm. [Accessed 21 August 2017].
  60. 60.
    Jun, Jyun-suk (2015). S. Korea Plans ‘Decapitation’ Strikes to Fend Off Nuke Attack. The Chosun Ilbo. August 28. http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2015/08/28/2015082800935.html. [Accessed 30 August 2016].
  61. 61.
    Ross, Eleanor (2017). North Korea Leader Kim Jong Un Fears ‘Decapitation’ by Squad of U.S. Navy Seals. The Newsweek. June 21. http://www.newsweek.com/north-korea-leader-kim-jong-un-fears-decapitation-squad-united-states-navy-627863 [Accessed 30 June 2017].
  62. 62.
    The United States Department of Defense (2013). The 45 th ROK-U.S. Security Consultative Meeting Joint Communique. October 2. https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/Joint%20Communique_%2045th%20ROK-U.S.%20Security%20Consultative%20Meeting.pdf. [Accessed 7 December 2017].
  63. 63.
    USFK.mil (2015). Full Text of 47th ROK-U.S. Joint Communique. November 1. http://www.usfk.mil/Media/News/Article/626859/full-text-of-47th-rok-us-joint-communique/. [Accessed 11 November 2015].
  64. 64.
    Ahn, Hong-wuk (2013). Early Establishment of Kill Chain and Korea Missile Defense System. The Kyunghyang Shinmun. October 1.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    The Chosun Ilbo (2013). N. Korea Has 100 Mobile Missile Launch Platforms. February 14. http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2013/02/14/2013021401237.html. [Accessed 12 June 2015].
  66. 66.
    Global Security.org (2017). Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD). August 20. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/rok/kamd.htm. [Accessed 4 August 2017].
  67. 67.
    Chung, Samman (2016). North Korea’s Nuclear Threats and Counter-Strategies. The Journal of East Asian Affairs, 30 (2): 83–131, Fall/Winter.Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    The Yonhap News (2017). S. Korea to Fully Reinforce Defense System in 5 years. April 14. http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2017/04/13/0301000000AEN20170413005300315.html [Accessed 8 November 2017].
  69. 69.
    Kwon, K. J. and Paula Hancocks (2016). South Korea, U.S. to Discuss THAAD Missile Defense Plan. CNN, February 7 February. http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/07/asia/us-south-korea-thaad-missile-defense/. [Accessed 7 February 2017].
  70. 70.
    Karimi, Faith (2017). US Tests Defense System after North Korea Missile Launch. CNN, July 30. http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/30/politics/us-military-tests-thaad-system/. [Accessed 1 August 2017].
  71. 71.
    Lockheed Martin (2017). Terminal High Altitude Area Defense. http://www.lockheedmartin.com/content/dam/lockheed/data/mfc/pc/thaad/mfc-thaad-pc.pdf.
  72. 72.
    Shim, Elizabeth (2015). THAAD is Not Reliable Deterrent Against N. Korea Missiles, Say Analysts. UPI. June, 24. http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2015/06/24/THAAD-is-not-reliable-deterrent-against-NKorea-missiles-say-analysts/6301435190644/. [Accessed 26 June 2015].
  73. 73.
    Taylor, Adam (2017). Why China is so Mad about THAAD, a Missile Defense System Aimed at Deterring North Korea. The Washington Post. March 7. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/03/07/why-china-is-so-mad-about-thaad-a-missile-defense-system-aimed-at-deterring-north-korea/?utm_term=.d4b4b675963f . [Accessed 8 March 2017].
  74. 74.
    The China Daily (2017). China Urges S. Korea to Make Efforts to Revamp Relationship. August 7. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2017-08/07/content_30352715.htm. [Accessed 8 August 2017].
  75. 75.
    The Chosun Ilbo (2015). Simulation Shows How THAAD Would Defend S. Korea. March 25. http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2015/03/25/2015032500896.html. [Accessed 27 March 2015].
  76. 76.
    Klingner, Bruce (2015). The Importance of THADD Missile Defense. The Journal of East Asian Affairs, 29 (2), 21–41. Fall/Winter.Google Scholar
  77. 77.
    Kim, Nan (2011). Korea on the Brink: Reading the Yŏnp’yŏng Shelling and its Aftermath. The Journal of Asian Studies, 70 (2), 337–356. May.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. 78.
    The Yonhap News (2017). Moon, Trump Vow to Seek Further Sanctions Against N. Korea. November 29. http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2017/11/29/0200000000AEN20171129005454315.html [Accessed 2 December 2017].
  79. 79.
    The Chosun Ilbo (2017). Moon Shifts Position on THAAD After N. Korean Missile Test. July 31. http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2017/07/31/2017073101540.html. [Accessed 1 August 2017].
  80. 80.
    Snyder, Glenn H. (1961). Deterrence and Defense: Toward a Theory of National Security. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University PressCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. 81.
    Snyder, Glenn H. (1993) Deterrence and Defense. In Art, Robert J. and Waltz, Kenneth N. Waltz, (eds.), The Use of Force, 4th ed. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 350–368.Google Scholar
  82. 82.
    Bennett, Bruce W. (2012). Deterring North Korea from Using WMD in Future Conflicts and Crises. Strategic Studies Quarterly, 6 (4), 119–151. Winter.Google Scholar
  83. 83.
    The Yonhap News (2017). USFK to Create HUMINT Unit for Gathering Intelligence on N. Korea. May 7. http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2017/05/07/0200000000AEN20170507001500315.html [Accessed 10 May 2017].

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceNorthern Kentucky UniversityHighland HeightsUSA

Personalised recommendations