North Korean Nuclear Strategy: Envisioning Assured Retaliation (2021.09)

  • 저자 : Dong Sun Lee, Iordanka Alexandrova
  • 학술지명 : International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • 발행처 : Oxford University Press
  • 권호 : 21(3)
  • 게재년월 : 2021년 09월

초록 : What nuclear strategy has North Korea adopted? What factors have driven the development of this nuclear strategy? This article examines the key attributes of Pyongyang’s nuclear program to offer possible answers to these questions of scholarly and practical importance. It argues that North Korea has likely adopted an assured retaliation strategy, threatening a nuclear second strike to deter US nuclear attacks. This strategy was chosen due to its superior feasibility and desirability: it requires only a modest cost-effective nuclear arsenal, reduces Pyongyang’s security dependence on Beijing, permits politically safe centralized control over the nuclear weapons, and is also relatively economical. This article calls into question the common views that North Korea has employed a catalytic strategy using its nuclear capabilities to induce China’s assistance, and that Pyongyang is developing an asymmetric escalation strategy or a brinkmanship strategy, which utilizes nuclear weapons primarily to counter the superior conventional forces of its adversaries.