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South Korean Efforts to Counter North Korean Aggression

  • South Korean Efforts to Counter North Korean Aggression

    South Korean Efforts to Counter North Korean Aggression

    Edited by Dr. James E. Platte and Dr. Todd Robinson, USAF Center for Strategic Deterrence Studies, Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL
    Recent North Korean nuclear aggression has raised debates about how the United States should secure its interests in North-east Asia. However, any action on the peninsula should consider the security preferences of American allies, especially the Republic of Korea (ROK). With militaristic rhetoric coming from the Trump administration, the question arises of how important U.S. policy is to the actions of our Korean allies in countering North Korean (DPRK) nuclear aggression. Thus, it is important to review nuclear crises of the past and the alignment of U.S. and ROK policy toward Pyongyang. This paper reviews three periods of nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula and argues that U.S. military policy is not the sole factor deter-mining South Korean response to DPRK nuclear provocation. South Korea’s strategic culture of self-reliance drives non-nuclear diplomatic and military responses while allowing Seoul to depend on the U.S. alliance for its nuclear deterrent.

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