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  • Author: Antoine Bondaz
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: The North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile crisis is the most serious proliferation crisis the European Union (EU) and its member states currently face on the world stage. Despite the staging of diplomatic meetings, the threat caused by this crisis to European interests, in terms of proliferation, instability and to prosperity, persists. It is now essential that the EU and its member states move from a strategy of critical engagement to implementing a more proactive strategy of credible commitments in four areas: political engagement, non-proliferation, the implementation of restrictive measures and engagement with the North Korean people. Such a renewed strategy should be highly coordinated, build on the many initiatives already being taken and facilitated by the appointment of an EU Special Representative on North Korea.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, European Union, Disarmament, Engagement
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Henry Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: In the next decade, it is all too likely that the past success of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in preventing the further spread of nuclear weapons among the world’s nations will be reversed. Three trends make more proliferation likely. First is the decay of nuclear taboos. Second, and arguably worse, is renewed vertical proliferation—the increase in size and sophistication of nuclear arsenals by states that already have them. Third, the technical information to fuel nuclear breakouts and ramp-ups is more available now than in the past. These trends toward increased proliferation are not yet facts. The author describes three steps the international community could take to save the NPT: making further withdrawals from the NPT unattractive; clamping down on the uneconomical stockpiling and civilian use of nuclear weapons materials (plutonium and highly enriched uranium); and giving real meaning to efforts to limit the threats that existing nuclear weapons pose.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power, Disarmament, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Russia, North Korea, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Elizabeth N. Saunders
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: When and how do domestic politics influence a state's nuclear choices? Recent scholarship on nuclear security develops many domestic-political explanations for different nuclear decisions. These explanations are partly the result of two welcome trends: first, scholars have expanded the nuclear timeline, examining state behavior before and after nuclear proliferation; and second, scholars have moved beyond blunt distinctions between democracies and autocracies to more fine-grained understandings of domestic constraints. But without linkages between them, new domestic-political findings could be dismissed as a laundry list of factors that do not explain significant variation in nuclear decisions. This review essay assesses recent research on domestic politics and nuclear security, and develops a framework that illuminates when and how domestic-political mechanisms are likely to affect nuclear choices. In contrast to most previous domestic arguments, many of the newer domestic-political mechanisms posited in the literature are in some way top-down; that is, they show leaders deliberately maintaining or loosening control over nuclear choices. Two dimensions govern the extent and nature of domestic-political influence on nuclear choices: the degree of threat uncertainty and the costs and benefits to leaders of expanding the circle of domestic actors involved in a nuclear decision. The framework developed in this review essay helps make sense of several cases explored in the recent nuclear security literature. It also has implications for understanding when and how domestic-political arguments might diverge from the predictions of security-based analyses.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, International Security, Domestic politics, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Iran, North Korea
  • Author: Van Jackson
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: While the reasons for seeking North Korean denuclearization are sensible, continuing to pursue that goal makes the United States and its allies less secure. In word and deed, North Korea has shown it has no interest in nuclear disarmament. Because denuclearization is antithetical to Kim Jong Un’s bottom line, U.S. attempts at diplomacy to that end are self-sabotaging. As long as disarmament of North Korea remains America’s professed goal, Kim Jong Un has every incentive either to avoid the negotiating process or favorably manipulate it at America’s expense—by stalling for time, making unfulfilled promises, and securing concessions without reciprocity. Worse, as the 2017 nuclear confrontation showed, making denuclearization an actionable goal of U.S. policy creates real risks of crisis instability—justifying extreme measures and extreme rhetoric in the name of what has become an extreme aim. But policymakers can avoid the pitfalls of the past by attempting something more realistic than denuclearization—an arms control approach to North Korea. The United States has significant unexploited margin to take diplomatic and political risks aimed at probing and potentially shifting North Korea’s approach to its nuclear arsenal. An arms control approach would seek to reorient U.S. North Korea policy to prioritize what matters most: reducing the risk of nuclear or conventional war without forsaking other U.S. interests at stake in Korea. Using diplomacy to enhance regional stability and foreclose the possibility of an avoidable nuclear war requires pursuing a negotiated outcome that both sides can accept, and that tests North Korea’s willingness to uphold commitments short of disarmament. U.S. policy often seeks to test North Korean intentions, but without offering the accommodations and concessions that would serve as a meaningful test. Remedying this problem through an arms control approach requires taking considerable unilateral actions consistent with U.S. interests before proceeding to a phased negotiating process.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Risk, Denuclearization
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Henry D. Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: The 13 chapters contained in this book’s two volumes were prompt-ed by a single inquiry in 2012 from the MacArthur Foundation. Was there any way, I was asked, to further clarify the economic and nonproliferation downsides if further production of civilian pluto-nium proceeded in East Asia? My initial reply was no. So much already had been done.But the more I thought about it, two things that had yet to be at-tempted emerged. The first was any serious analysis of just how bad things could get militarily if Japan and South Korea acquired nuclear weapons and North Korea and Mainland China ramped up their own production of such arms. Such nuclear proliferation had long been assumed to be undesirable but nobody had specified how such proliferation might play out militarily. Second, no serious consideration had yet been given to how East Asia might be able to prosper economically without a massive buildup of civilian nucle-ar power. Since each of the key nations in East Asia—China, the Koreas, and Japan—all would likely exploit their civilian nuclear energy infrastructure to acquire their first bombs or to make more, such inattention seemed odd.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Nuclear Power, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, North Korea, Global Focus
  • Author: Henry D. Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: The 13 chapters contained in this book’s two volumes were prompt- ed by a single inquiry in 2012 from the MacArthur Foundation. Was there any way, I was asked, to further clarify the economic and nonproliferation downsides if further production of civilian pluto- nium proceeded in East Asia? My initial reply was no. So much already had been done.But the more I thought about it, two things that had yet to be at- tempted emerged. The first was any serious analysis of just how bad things could get militarily if Japan and South Korea acquired nuclear weapons and North Korea and Mainland China ramped up their own production of such arms. Such nuclear proliferation had long been assumed to be undesirable but nobody had specified how such proliferation might play out militarily. Second, no serious consideration had yet been given to how East Asia might be able to prosper economically without a massive buildup of civilian nucle- ar power. Since each of the key nations in East Asia—China, the Koreas, and Japan—all would likely exploit their civilian nuclear energy infrastructure to acquire their first bombs or to make more, such inattention seemed odd.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Nuclear Power, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, North Korea, Global Focus
  • Author: Assaf Orion, Amos Yadlin
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: At the strategic level, the convergence in time and space of the events following the chemical weapons attack in Duma by the Syrian regime portend a dramatic development with substantial potential impact for Israel’s security environment. The attack on the T4 airbase, attributed to Israel, falls within the context of the last red line that Israel drew, whereby it cannot accept Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria. The attack in Duma reflects the Syrian regime’s considerable self-confidence at this time. As for Trump, the attack provides him with another opportunity to demonstrate his insistence on the red lines that he drew and take a determined stance opposite Putin. Thus, Israel’s enforcement of its red line and the United States’ enforcement of its red line have met, while Russia finds itself exerting efforts to deter both countries from taking further action that could undermine its achievements in Syria and its positioning as the dominant world power in the theater. However, the strategic convergence does not stop at Syria’s borders, and is unfolding against the backdrop of the crisis emerging around the Trump administration’s demands to improve the JCPOA, or run the risk of the re-imposition of sanctions and the US exiting the agreement. Indeed, the context is even wider, with preparations for Trump’s meeting with North Korean President Kim on the nuclear issue in the far background. Therefore, the clash between Israel and Iran in Syria on the eve of deliberations on the nuclear deal could potentially lead to a change from separate approaches to distinct issues to a broader and more comprehensive framework with interfaces and linkages between the issues.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Asia, North Korea, Syria, North America
  • Author: Kim Taewoo
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test on January 6, 2016, the February 2 test launch of the Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite (which in fact was a longrange missile), and other provocative activities amply reminded the international community of the reasons for strong and consistent sanctions. Such activities again proved the Kim Family Regime (KFR) will not accept voluntary changes or engage in denuclearization dialogue. Instead, the regime declared de facto "Nuclear-First Politics," thus ruling out the possibility of denuclearization. If the KFR is allowed to continue unhampered nuclear weapons development, it will become a nuclear power with over 50 nuclear weapons within a decade. Its weapons will include atomic bombs, boosted fission bombs, and hydrogen bombs. The KFR will also possess increasingly formidable delivery vehicles, such as Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles and Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. This situation must be a nightmare particularly to South Korea. However, the current international sanctions headed by the UNSCR 2270, along with unilateral sanctions, are unlikely to bear fruit in the foreseeable future due to China’s conflicting policies. Beijing’s attitude towards North Korean nuclear program has alternated between ‘pressure and connivance;’ its military relationship with the United States determining China’s position on sanctions. China’s alternating position prevents effective sanctions against North Korea. While the international community should endeavor to make sanctions concerted, strong and consistent, South Korea and the U.S. should think about a Plan B that includes presenting China the threat of nuclear proliferation in East Asia.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Sanctions, Nonproliferation, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Yonho Kim
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: North Korea’s nuclear tests in 2016 rekindled a stronger voice for independent nuclear armament among South Korean conservatives. It is noteworthy that the pro-nuclear view is mainly driven by feelings of profound frustration and helplessness over North Korea’s growing nuclear threat. To assuage concerns, Washington should start seeking new methods of reassuring its partner of its intention to honor its security commitments. The challenges to the U.S.-ROK alliance sparked by North Korea’s nuclear test also came from the liberals’ fierce criticism of the Park government’s decision to start talks with Washington on THAAD deployment. Opponents of THAAD emphasized potential “security anxiety” associated with THAAD deployment, which they argued would escalate regional tensions and introduce a new Cold War, endangering peace on the Korean Peninsula. The THAAD issue has become a political hot potato that could easily entrap major presidential candidates. To avoid any backlash, the candidates will refuse to choose between China and the U.S. while placing the alliance with the U.S. at the center of South Korea’s foreign policy.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Missile Defense
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America