2022年2月18日

It is published simultaneously by RECNA-Nagasaki University, Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (APLN), and Nautilus Institute.

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Image:Pixabay/ chandella0122


Avoiding Nuclear War In The Taiwan Strait
 
Sheryn Lee
 
Prepared for the
Project on Reducing the Risk of Nuclear Weapons Use
in Northeast Asia (NU-NEA)
 
Co-sponsored by
The Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, Nagasaki University (RECNA),
The Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, and
The Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN)
 
with cooperation of
Panel on Peace and Security of Northeast Asia
 
Additional funding by the MacArthur Foundation
 
February 18, 2022

 

Abstract

China’s improving nuclear arsenal, the United States’ deteriorating “strategic ambiguity” policy, and Taiwan’s increasing identification as independent polity raises the prospect of conflict over Taiwan. But the use of nuclear weapons in the Taiwan Straits would happen only under extreme circumstances. This paper argues Beijing is increasing its use of gray-zone tactics with conventional and non-military means below the level of nuclear provocation to tip the cross-straits military balance in its favor. This report first examines China’s aim to achieve unification with Taiwan via its use of threat and use of force in both the nuclear and conventional domains through a close examination of the three historical cross-strait crises. Second, it outlines the geostrategic and geopolitical rationale for continued American support for Taiwan in an era of United States-China competition. Lastly, it explores the role of Taiwan’s consolidating democracy and how Taipei responds to Beijing’s coercion. The report concludes with consideration of how the Taiwan Straits case may affect the possibility of nuclear weapons use in Northeast Asia, including in Japan and on the Korean peninsula.

Keywords:
Strategic ambiguity, Cross-Straits relations, Nuclear domino effect, US-China relations, Taiwanese Independence
 

Authors’ Profile:
Dr Sheryn Lee is a senior lecturer in the Department of Leadership and Command and Control at the Swedish Defence University, Stockholm. Dr Lee was previously an analyst for the Office of National Intelligence, Australia. Prior to that she was a lecturer in the Department of Security Studies and Criminology, Macquarie University. She holds a PhD from the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU, where she was a TB Millar Scholar, and an AM in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania where she was a Benjamin Franklin Fellow and Mumford Fellow. She has also been a non-resident WSD-Handa Fellow at the CSIS Pacific Forum and a Robert O’Neill Scholar at the IISS-Asia, Singapore.

Full text (PDF) is here.
The page for this project is here.
 

Category TOPICS

It is published simultaneously by RECNA-Nagasaki University, Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (APLN), and Nautilus Institute.

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Image:iStock/ Alex Sholom


PROSPECTS FOR DPRK’S NUCLEAR USE SCENARIOS AND DETERRENCE MEASURES OF THE US AND ROK ALLIANCE
 
Lee Sangkyu
 
Prepared for the
Project on Reducing the Risk of Nuclear Weapons Use
in Northeast Asia (NU-NEA)
 
Co-sponsored by
The Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, Nagasaki University (RECNA),
The Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, and
The Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN)
 
with cooperation of
Panel on Peace and Security of Northeast Asia
 
Additional funding by the MacArthur Foundation
 
February 18, 2022

[This article reflects the personal opinions of the author, not the official opinions of the government of the Republic of Korea.]

 

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to develop cases for the DPRK’s use of nuclear weapons. As background, firstly, the deterrence and countermeasure strategies of the United States-ROK alliance in the face of the increasingly sophisticated DPRK’s nuclear threat is examined. Then, the DPRK’s nuclear capabilities and nuclear strategy are investigated, and nuclear use cases are presented in detail based on those strategies. The relative priorities and feasibility of the different DPRK nuclear use cases were analyzed using parameters evaluating their military effect, the potential for US nuclear retaliation, and the level of civilian casualties. Among the expected cases, an attack on the ROK Mobile Corps would seem to be the most probable scenario, since the benefits that the DPRK would gain from such an attack would be high. Within that case, there is a danger of nuclear provocation due to the asymmetry between the DPRK’s nuclear possession and ROK’s possession of only conventional forces. The importance of the US extended deterrence policy to deter the DPRK’s nuclear threat is therefore emphasized, and measures to strengthen the credibility of US extended deterrence are also suggested.

Keywords:
DPRK, Nuclear Capabilities, Nuclear Strategy, Nuclear Use Cases, US-ROK Alliance
 

Authors’ Profile:

Professor Lee Sangkyu is a Republic of Korea (ROK) army officer and assistant professor at the Korea Military Academy (KMA). His main research focus is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear threats, including its nuclear capabilities, strategies, and command and control system. Professor Lee holds PhD and MS degrees in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Utah in the United States. He has been an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at KMA since 2019, and from 2017 to 2018 served as the Nuclear Policy Planning Officer at the North Korea Policy Bureau, Ministry of National Defense, Republic of Korea.

Full text (PDF) is here.
The page for this project is here.
 

Category TOPICS
2022年2月9日

It is published simultaneously by RECNA-Nagasaki University, Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (APLN), and Nautilus Institute.

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COUNTERFORCE DILEMMAS AND
THE RISK OF NUCLEAR WAR IN EAST ASIA
 
Ian Bowers
 
Prepared for the
Project on Reducing the Risk of Nuclear Weapons Use
in Northeast Asia (NU-NEA)
 
Co-sponsored by
The Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, Nagasaki University (RECNA),
The Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, and
The Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN)
 
with cooperation of
Panel on Peace and Security of Northeast Asia
 
Additional funding by the MacArthur Foundation
 
February 9, 2022
 

Abstract

The discovery of new Chinese nuclear missile silos, a seemingly escalating nuclear-conventional arms competition between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK), and the announcement that Australia, in concert with the US (United States) and UK (United Kingdom), is pursuing nuclear-powered attack submarines are events that collectively indicate a worsening security environment in East Asia. Using geostrategic, operational, and technological factors as the basis for analysis, this paper contextualizes these and other developments and assesses the potential for nuclear war in East Asia in general and on the Korean Peninsula in particular.
The most dangerous threat to strategic stability is a counterforce dilemma where the conventional weapons of the US, China, and regional East Asian actors may create strategic instability by their intentional or inadvertent entanglement or use to target the nuclear forces of another state, resulting in pursuit of more secure second-strike capability by the countries of the region, and forming the heart of conventional warfighting and deterrence strategies. The many different conflictual or competitive relationships across the region make arms control initiatives unlikely to succeed, but the maritime nature of the geostrategic environment and the lack of existential threat that the United States and China pose to each other may offer fewer natural pathways to the use of nuclear weapons for either China or the United States than there were for the adversaries in the Cold War.

Keywords:
United States, China, Conventional Weapons, Arms Control, Nuclear War
 

Authors’ Profile:
Ian Bowers
Ian Bowers is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Joint Operations at the Royal Danish Defense College. His research focuses on deterrence, the future operational environment, sea power, and East Asian security. His research has been published in several international journals including International Security, the Journal of Strategic Studies, the Naval War College Review, and the Korean Journal of Defense Analysis. His most recent co-authored work, titled “Conventional Counterforce Dilemmas: South Korea’s Deterrence Strategy and Stability on the Korean Peninsula,” was published in International Security. Bowers has also published a monograph on the modernization of the Republic of Korea Navy, and edited volumes on sea power and military change. Bowers holds a PhD in War Studies from King’s College London.

Full text (PDF) is here.
The page for this project is here.
 

Category TOPICS
2022年2月3日

It is published simultaneously by RECNA-Nagasaki University, Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (APLN), and Nautilus Institute.

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Credit: iStock/ Perytskyy


Korean peninsula Nuclear issue:Challenges and Prospects
 
Anastasia Barannikova
 
Prepared for the
Project on Reducing the Risk of Nuclear Weapons Use
in Northeast Asia (NU-NEA)
 
Co-sponsored by
The Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, Nagasaki University (RECNA),
The Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, and
The Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN)
 
with cooperation of
Panel on Peace and Security of Northeast Asia
 
Additional funding by the MacArthur Foundation
 
February 3, 2022
 

Abstract

For the last three decades the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue (KPNI) has been considered as one of the most serious threats to security and stability in NEA (Northeast Asia). To date, none of the efforts by the international community—including Six-party talks, pressure and diplomatic efforts, and more recently, activity started by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 2018-2019—have yielded tangible results in addressing the issue. This puts into question the viability of the existing approaches to the DPRK and the feasibility of achieving a KPNI solution.

Keywords:
Korean Peninsula, Nuclear Issue, DPRK, Denuclearization, Balance of Power
 

Authors’ Profile:
Anastasia Barannikova
Anastasia Barannikova is a research fellow at ADM Nevelskoy Maritime State University (Vladivostok, Russia) and non-resident senior fellow of Mongolian Institute of Northeast Asian Security and Strategy (Mongolia).

She was a visiting fellow at Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) in 2019, James Martin Center for Non-Proliferation Studies (CNS), Middlebury Institute of International Studies in 2020 and Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Kyungnam University in 2021. She holds PhD in History from ADM Nevelskoy Maritime State University.

Barannikova is the author of more than 100 publications in scientific journals, newspapers, and blogs, including articles in Russian, English, Chinese, Korean, Mongolian, and Japanese languages. Her research interests include (but not limited by) regional (Northeast Asia) security and nuclear non-proliferation: Korean Peninsula, reunification, DPRK foreign and domestic policies, DPRK nuclear and missile program, nuclear posture.

Full text (PDF) is here.
The page for this project is here.
 

Category TOPICS
2022年1月28日


Possible Nuclear Use Cases in Northeast Asia:
Implications for Reducing Nuclear Risk

“Reducing the Risk of Nuclear Weapons Use in Northeast Asia (NU-NEA)” Project Year 1 Report

The project is co-sponsored by The Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, Nagasaki University (RECNA, Japan), The Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN, Seoul), The Nautilus Institute (US), with cooperation of Panel on Peace and Security of Northeast Asia (PSNA, Japan).

The report looks at nuclear weapons use in 2025-2030 as part of a conflict on the Korean Peninsula or Northeast Asia, developing use cases for (mostly) limited nuclear war involving the DPRK, US, China, Russia – as the states to use nuclear weapons first. It also considers the possibility of the use of nuclear or other weapons by non-state actors as a triggering event. The report attempts to address the questions: Why does the nuclear use happen? Which state responds to nuclear first use with nuclear weapons and/or conventional forces? What and where are the targets of nuclear weapons in each case, and when does the attack occur? How are the first strikes and subsequent nuclear attacks carried out? How plausible is the nuclear use case, how significant are its impacts likely to be?

Report-Cover「Nuclear Weapon Use Cases in Northeast Asia: Implications for Reducing the Nuclear Risks」
“Reducing the Risk of Nuclear Weapons Use in Northeast Asia (NU-NEA)” Project Year 1 Report

Full text of the report (PDF) is here.


The page for this project is here.
 

Category TOPICS
2022年1月20日

It is published simultaneously by RECNA-Nagasaki University, Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (APLN), and Nautilus Institute.

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Image credit: iStock/ Tuangtong


NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND DELIVERY SYSTEMS THAT MIGHT BE IMPLICATED IN NUCLEAR USE INVOLVING THE KOREAN PENINSULA
 
Matt Korda
 
Prepared for the
Project on Reducing the Risk of Nuclear Weapons Use
in Northeast Asia (NU-NEA)
 
Co-sponsored by
The Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, Nagasaki University (RECNA),
The Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, and
The Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN)
with cooperation of
Panel on Peace and Security of Northeast Asia
 
Additional funding by the MacArthur Foundation
 
January 20, 2022
 

Abstract

It is highly unlikely that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) would intentionally launch nuclear weapons in the absence of an existential threat to the continued survival of the state and its political leadership. However, in the event of such a scenario—for example, the prospect of an imminent US invasion or regime change operation—it is possible that the DPRK would use some of its estimated forty to fifty nuclear weapons in an attempt to forestall US action. In that case, the DPRK could use its short- and medium-range ballistic missiles early in a conflict to strike political and military targets in the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan, it and could potentially use its intermediate-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles to strike US military targets on Guam and Hawaii. The DPRK could also hold some nuclear weapons in reserve to strike the continental United States with intercontinental ballistic missiles, in the event that its initial nuclear strikes did not prevent an existentially threatening conventional invasion of the DPRK. First nuclear strikes by the United States (and its allies), or by China or Russia, may also be unlikely in the absence of an overwhelming provocation, but the nuclear weapons and launch systems available to these states are also considered.

Keywords:
DPRK, Nuclear Weapons, Delivery Systems, Nuclear-use Case, Korean Peninsula, United States
 

Authors’ Profile:
Matt Korda is a senior research associate and project manager for the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, where he co-authors the Nuclear Notebook with Hans Kristensen. Matt is also an associate researcher with the Nuclear Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Previously, he worked for the Arms Control, Disarmament, and WMD Non-Proliferation Centre at NATO HQ in Brussels. Matt received his MA in International Peace & Security from the Department of War Studies at King’s College London.

Full text (PDF) is here.
The page for this project is here.
 

Category TOPICS
2022年1月12日

It is published simultaneously by RECNA-Nagasaki University, Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (APLN), and Nautilus Institute.

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Attribution: iStock/Petrovich9


THE ROLE OF MISSILE DEFENSE IN NORTH-EAST ASIA
 
David Wright
 
Prepared for the
Project on Reducing the Risk of Nuclear Weapons Use
in Northeast Asia (NU-NEA)
 
Co-sponsored by
The Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, Nagasaki University (RECNA),
The Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, and
The Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN)
with cooperation of
Panel on Peace and Security of Northeast Asia
 
Additional funding by the MacArthur Foundation
 
January 12, 2022
 

Abstract

This paper discusses specific types of missile attacks the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) might launch in a conflict and identifies the key sources of uncertainty that US and allied political and military leaders must take into account in assessing how effective defense systems might be in stopping these attacks. A key finding is that while missile defenses might be able to blunt some kinds of attacks, the DPRK will have options for retaliatory missile attacks that can reach their targets despite the presence of defenses, and Pyongyang will know which options those are. The existence of this second set of cases is crucial for US and allied leaders to recognize if they are considering taking actions under the assumption that defenses will be effective in protecting US and allied populations.

Keywords:
Missile Defense, Nuclear-weapon Use, DPRK, United States, Northeast Asia
 

Authors’ Profile:
David-Wright
David Wright is a research affiliate in the MIT Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering’s Laboratory for Nuclear Security and Policy. From 1992 to 2020 he was a researcher with the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, serving as co-director of the program from 2002 to 2020. Previously he held research positions in the Defense and Arms Control/Security Studies Program at MIT, the Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and the Federation of American Scientists. He received his PhD in theoretical condensed matter physics from Cornell University in 1983 and worked as a research physicist until 1988.

This work was supported in part by the Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University.

Full text (PDF) is here.
The page for this project is here.
 

Category TOPICS
2022年1月6日

It is published simultaneously by RECNA-Nagasaki University, Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (APLN), and Nautilus Institute.

image
Credit: Rawpixel stock, U.S. Marine Corps


THE DELIBERATE EMPLOYMENT OF UNITED STATES NUCLEAR WEAPONS: ESCALATION TRIGGERS ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA
 
Daryl G. Press
 
Prepared for the
Project on Reducing the Risk of Nuclear Weapons Use
in Northeast Asia (NU-NEA)
 
Co-sponsored by
The Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, Nagasaki University (RECNA),
The Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, and
The Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN)
with cooperation of
Panel on Peace and Security of Northeast Asia
 
Additional funding by the MacArthur Foundation
 
January 6, 2022
 

Abstract

This paper focuses on the conditions under which the United States might use nuclear weapons in the context of war on the Korean peninsula. It identifies circumstances that might trigger such a decision, the purposes of US nuclear use, and the plausible targets of US nuclear strikes. Attention is focused on the roles that nuclear weapons may continue to play in US military operations and geopolitical strategy despite US steps to reduce their saliency since the end of the Cold War. This paper argues that because the United States (and its allies) have a strong preference against using nuclear weapons, it would only consider doing so if (1) the mission being performed via the nuclear strike was of critical importance, (2) the mission could not be accomplished with sufficient certainty or speed with non-nuclear weapons, and (3) the use of nuclear munitions significantly increases the probability of mission success. This paper identifies a range of circumstances that could arise during a war on the Korean Peninsula that might satisfy all three of these criteria, and it identifies the pathways that are most likely to trigger US nuclear employment. Examining these conditions can help US allies and other partners identify and resolve disagreements about nuclear employment, enhance deterrence against regional adversaries, and shed light on the logic driving important decisions about US nuclear force structure and modernization.

Keywords:
Nuclear-weapon Use, Escalation, United States, Korean Peninsula, DPRK
 

Authors’ Profile:
Daryl-G.Press
Daryl G. Press is an associate professor of Government at Dartmouth College. His work focuses on US foreign policy, deterrence, and the future of warfare. He has published numerous articles and two books: Calculating Credibility (2005), which examines how leaders assess credibility during crises, and The Myth of the Nuclear Revolution: Power Politics in the Atomic Age (2020), which explores deterrence challenges of the 21st century. Press worked as a consultant at the RAND Corporation for nearly twenty years, and he has taught classes on conventional force modeling for two decades. His work has appeared in leading academic journals as well as in the popular press including Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, and The Atlantic Monthly.

Full text (PDF) is here.
The page for this project is here.
 

Category TOPICS
2022年1月4日

Vol. 4, Issue 2 of Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament (J-PAND) is now available online. There are 11 open access articles featuring “The Biden Nuclear Posture Review: Implications for the Asian Allies and Partners.”

For the issue, see here.

 

Category TOPICS
2021年12月16日

It is published simultaneously by RECNA-Nagasaki University, Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (APLN), and Nautilus Institute.

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US ENTRY INTO THE KOREAN WAR: ORIGINS, IMPACT, AND LESSONS
 
A Special Report Prepared for the
Project on Reducing the Risk of Nuclear Weapons Use
in Northeast Asia (NU-NEA)
 
Co-sponsored by
Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition, Nagasaki University (RECNA)
Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN)
Nautilus Institute
with collaboration of Panel on Peace and Security of Northeast Asia (PSNA)
 
Additional funding by the MacArthur Foundation
 
December 16, 2021
 
James I. Matray
 

Abstract

 
This article describes the reasons for the outbreak of the Korean War and US entry into the conflict. At the end of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union divided Korea into two zones of military occupation. Cold War discord between the two nations blocked agreement to end the division, resulting in formation of two Korean governments each bent on reunification. Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin reluctantly supported the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s invasion of the Republic of Korea on 25 June 1950 after Kim Il Sung persuaded him that victory would be quick and easy. President Harry S. Truman immediately saw the attack as the first step in a Soviet plan to use military means to achieve global dominance, but he initially ordered limited US military intervention, maintaining a prewar policy of qualified containment in Korea. When the Republic of Korea failed to halt the invasion, he sent US ground forces to prevent the Communist conquest of the peninsula. Truman wanted to avoid another world war and did not consider use of atomic weapons until China intervened. This article concludes that resumption of the Korean War is unlikely because of the US treaty commitment to defend the Republic of Korea and the weakness of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
 

Keywords:
Korean War, Harry S. Truman, ROK, DPRK, United States.
 

Authors’ Profile:
James I. MATRAY
James I. Matray, PhD, is emeritus professor of history at California State University, Chico, where he was History Department chair from 2002 to 2008. His publications focus on US-Korean relations after World War II. He has written or edited nine books and publishing over fifty scholarly articles and book chapters. Author of The Reluctant Crusade: American Foreign Policy in Korea, 1941-1950, Matray’s latest major publication is Crisis in a Divided Korea: A Chronology and Reference Guide (2016). He also is editor-in-chief of the Journal of American-East Asian Relations. His current research project investigates the Battles of Pork Chop Hill.

Full text (PDF) is here.
The page for this project is here.
 

Category TOPICS

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