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JPI Policy Forum
Emerging Nuclear Order in Northeast Asia and the Possibility of Nuclear Weapon Free Zone By : CHEON Seong Whun (Visiting Researcher, The Asan Institute for Policy Studies) JPI Policy Forum: 2017-12
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Despite the NPT’s contribution to preventing global nuclear proliferation, North Korea’s nuclear armament has emerged as a threat to the international nuclear nonproliferation regime and the existing nuclear order in Northeast Asia that has complied with it.

South Korea will be able to exercise its initiative as a nuclear disarmament leader in Northeast Asia or on the global level by resolving the North Korean nuclear issue through mutual disarmament. Considering that China does not possess tactical nuclear weapons and Japan is a non-nuclear nation, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula could develop into a ‘Northeast Asia Tactical Nuclear Restrictive Zone,’ as well as expanding into ‘Tactical Nuclear Weapon Dismantlement Treaty’ discarding tactical nuclear weaponsaround the world, including Russia and the EU to the west of the Ural Mountains.

The situation in Northeast Asia, where South Korea must respond to North Korea’s nuclear challenges with tactical nuclear weapon redeployment or its own nuclear armament card, is not suitable for discussing the denuclearization zone. Nevertheless, it is still desirable to promote the Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free
Zone from a long-term perspective in connection with the resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue.

Tactical nuclear weapon redeployment is a one-step back for two-step forward, i.e. the Northeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone, and the ultimate goal of tactical nuclear weapon redeployment is to simultaneously discard both countries’nuclear arsenals by proposing nuclear disarmament negotiations between the two Koreas after redeployment.

South Korea will be able to exercise its initiative as a nuclear disarmament leader in Northeast Asia or on the global level by resolving the North Korean nuclear issue through mutual disarmament. Considering that China does not possess tactical nuclear weapons and Japan is a non-nuclear nation, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula could develop into a ‘Northeast Asia Tactical Nuclear Restrictive Zone,’ as well as expanding into ‘Tactical Nuclear Weapon Dismantlement Treaty’ discarding tactical nuclear weaponsaround the world, including Russia and the EU to the west of the Ural Mountains.​ 

Author CHEON Seong Whun (Visiting Researcher, The Asan Institute for Policy Studies)
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