#3073 Republic of Korea Considerations on Nuclear Weapons Development

08/03/2023 11:00 AM - 01:00 PM MT


Register and pay for five classes at once and receive the sixth class for free.  You must register over the phone or in person.  This discount does not apply to registering online.  (The free class is of the same or lesser value.)


Thursday, August 3, 11:00am - 1:00pm

#3073 Republic of Korea: Considerations on Nuclear Weapons Development

Instructor: Dr. Bill Berry

Since the end of the Korean War in 1953, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States have been security allies with a Mutual Defense Treaty in place and the stationing of American military forces in the ROK to support this security relationship. The U.S. has extended the American nuclear umbrella (extended deterrence) to the ROK to guard against the increasing nuclear threat from North Korea. As North Korea has developed a significant nuclear weapons arsenal and the capability to launch long range missiles that may be capable of reaching the U.S., questions have arisen in the ROK concerning the credibility of the American deterrent to dissuade North Korea from a possible attack against the ROK. A significant percentage of the South Korean population has reached the conclusion that the ROK should develop its own nuclear weapons capability as a more credible deterrent against a possible North Korean attack. The United States has strongly supported the continuation of the American nuclear umbrella as more than sufficient to prevent North Korea from any such attack. If the ROK would decide to go forward with a nuclear weapons program, this decision would result in the withdrawal of the ROK from the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT) which the ROK joined in 1975. Only one other country has withdrawn from the NPT and that is North Korea in 2003. To withdraw from the NPT would result in severe economic and political consequences and could have devastating effects on the security relationship with the United States. This presentation will examine the most important factors involved in this dilemma for both the ROK and U.S. and come to some conclusions as to possible outcomes.


William Berry, PhD in International Relations with a focus on East Asian Politics from Cornell University.  He was a career Air Force Officer, retiring with the rank of colonel.  He served in several East Asian assignments.  Dr. Berry also taught at the Air Force Academy, the National War College, and the Asian Pacific Center for Security Studies.

$25 PILLAR Members / $40 Nonmembers