THE IMPLICATIONS OF WITHDRAWING NUCLEAR WEAPONS FROM KOREA

Created: 8/11/1977

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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Tho^ Implication? nf hum^u^ Nuclear Hoapons

ia concerned by OS nuclear weapons and

has been moat outspoken both In denouncing their presence in

j south Korea and in acknowledging their destructive potential, In order to gain sympathy and support in the third world, Pyongyang persistently portrays the US nuclear presenceymbol off big power chauvinism and US disregard for non-Western populations. Even so. North Korea's extensive coverage of US nuclear weapons clearly reflects fear of their, possible use, and one of ita priority objectives is their complete removal from Korea.

,, Pyongyang's previous experience and geopolitical

circumstances suggest that it might view airdropped weapons It Ml ft: greater threat than ground weapons i

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ff OS forces deep into North Korea0 led to Chinese intervention and Pyongyang's ultimate survivalj

during the Vietnam war, the US conducted an air butround war in Northnd the PRC did not Intervene.

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Pyongyang may calculate that tha OS would reroa'n within the latter parametersuture Korean conflict in

for"tal1 Chinese intervention. Iff so, the North probably reasons that ground nuclesr weapons would be used against its fforces ffighting in the South or near the dmz,

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Nithdrawinq Nuclear Weapona ;

ip1rom

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j air delivered weapona/ on the other hand, could be used not f onlyi.in the vicinity of the battlefield but on military and iinduatrial installations throughout the North.

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Y'Hl'i Pyongyang.will probably view the withdrawal of

ground weaponsogical and perhaps necessary corollary ! to the withdrawal;of 'US ground forces. However, the with-' drawal of all air;delivered weapons as well will probably | lead tha North to question whether the US would reintroduce : any nuclear weapona in the event of conflict. Pyongyang is

unlikely to arrive at an easy answer.

[ Total withdrawal of the weapona la atep in the right direction from theointi of view and might lead the US to avoid using them ' uture: conflict aa it did during the Vietnam

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. Cm-the: other; hand, the North fully recognizesj US nuclear weapona will remain in the general area

ollowing their withdrawal from Korea, and ia also hi I< aware! of US statements of intent to use them if

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<.i( i Having| almost fatally miscalculated the US response' Pyongyang is likely to weigh the withdrawal of nuclear weapona with aome raaidual caution. On balance. It 1 williew the issue of US nuclear intentions as jj more ambiguojua, but viXX be unable to diamiaa the question.

J'ji Following'ja nuclear weapona withdrawal, perceptions ofroader resolve will figure]importantly in thealculations of the possible uso of US nuclear , weapons as well aa of the overall US deterrent.' In thispolicies toward both Korea and other regionsotential conflict: will be important factors.

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7.i For. its parti the South strongly desiresofja US nuclear presence in Korea. MorePyongyang, Seoul win read the total withdrawalnuclear weapona aa evidence of US intent to forogo theira. future conflict. |ln an obvious effort Jto head offnuclear withdrawal, the South Korean pressthat the Pak government would be justifieddeveloping|itaown nuclear weapons if the USere,li Iff; .

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SUBJECTt |The Implications of Withdrawing Nuclear : From Korea ti

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Seoul undertookrogram4 because of doubts about the reliability of the overall US security commitment, rather than the narrower issue of the US nuclear presence.| suspended the program lata last year for both technical and political reasonst

Seoul's technical prospects were seriouslyy itaheavyontractrench-designed reprocess-

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'ubsequently, President Pak probably aaw aome

political value in suspending the program inoositive tone in relations with the now ;US adrainiotration.

.The key element in Seoul's thinking about its nucleer weapons option will continue to be its overall relatlonahip with the US. It will want to weigh carefully the possible gains ofeapons program against the risks of losing the considerable support it still needs from the USJ!-'A sharp rupture in US-South Korean relations over the nuclear issue could:jeopardise Seoul's access to credits for military sales, sour bilateral economic relations, and perhaps stimulate sentiment in the US for increasing the pace of troop withdrawals.

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10. In making these calculations Seoul will be influenced by security conditions on the Korean peninsula. The timing end modalities of the US ground force withdrawal obviously willajor Impact on Seoul'a perceptions. eductionhe credibility off the US alliance as seen from Seoulenewal of North Korean aggressive tactics could lead President Pak to resume the weapons program. In any event, the withdrawal off all US nuclear weapons will clearly strengthenetermination to move toward militaryourse he has been following since the0 -i]

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