U.S. Deployment of Nuclear Weapons in 1950s South Korea & North Korea's Nuclear Development: Toward Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula

Jae-Bong, Lee
February 2009
Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus;2/23/2009, Issue 8, p2
The United States suffered a serious financial deficit as a result of the Korean War in the 1950s. To solve this problem, it moved to reduce the sizes of US forces in Korea and the South Korean military which depended on U.S. financial aid. As President Rhee Syng-man opposed this plan, the U.S. introduced nuclear weapons into South Korea in January 1958. For this purpose, the UN Command removed NNSC personnel from South Korea in June 1956, and nullified part of the Armistice Agreement in June 1957. As nuclear weapons were deployed in South Korea, North Korea began a massive program of underground construction in the 1960s and deployed its conventional forces in forward positions. North Korea asked the Soviet Union in 1963 and China in 1964 for help in developing nuclear weapons of its own, but was rebuffed. South Korea prepared to develop its own nuclear weapons in 1974 and North Korea began to develop its own program in the late 1970s. North Korea seeks, through development of nuclear weapons, to secure international recognition as well as economic aid and national security. Thus for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, provision must be made for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons without a sense of insecurity. In addition, it is unrealistic to urge North Korea to unilaterally dismantle its nuclear weapons without a breakthrough in U.S.-North Korea relations, preparing the withdrawal of US forces in South Korea, eliminating the U.S. nuclear umbrella for South Korea, and abolishing the U.S.-South Korea Alliance.


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