持平而論，有些南韓人認為應該要自主發展核武才能有效對抗北韓所帶來的威脅，有些人則強調從美國引進戰略核武的必要性，但是南韓不但在檯面上是個非核武國家，也一直恪遵兩韓在1992年所簽署的《朝鮮半島無核化共同宣言》（Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula），這顯示無核化才是南韓追求的目標，而不是透過核武所營造的恐怖平衡。因此南韓需要建立的是「非核武的嚇阻力」，不要成為周遭鄰近國家的安全威脅。
North Korea at a crossroads:
Nuclear Armament or Regime Transformation
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
Why North Korea develop ICBM?
Just a few years ago, we were trapped by optimism that North Korea is a failed state which is destined to collapse, and that we will be able to lead unification in our way. But that failed state’s nuclear armament is now becoming a reality.
The socialist regime with three-generation lineage of leadership has killed around 200 high-rank officials and even the leader’s older brother, all because of the young leader’s anxiety over power. Kim Jung-Eun is overly obsessed with emulation of his late grandfather Kim Il-Sung and even resurrected the policy aimed to communize South Korea.
It seems impossible to imagine the most impoverished, backward state in Asia, run by a mad man, should set out to build a long range missile. Kim’s ‘playing with fire’ has gone too far. The regime has carried out 24 ballistic missile tests and 2 nuclear tests in 2016 alone, and fired 18 missiles already to date this year including two prototype ICBMs. North Korea’s successful launch of the Hwasong-14 last July was the moment that suggested the country is about to have the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capability to attack the U.S. mainland.
All parts of South Korean territory are already within the striking distance of around 1000 various ballistic missiles. Moreover, submarine launched ballistic missiles, missiles on transporter-erector-launchers, and orbital mobile launcher platforms are challenging the defense capability of South Korea.
Until the North developed the missile, what have we done? South Korea often underestimates the North’s capability and put priority on inter-Korean relations. When the North conducted its first nuclear test, the South Korean president at the time even said it was a self-defense measure against U.S. hostility. We believed that the North was developing nuclear weapons for its survival and that creating an environment for the North’s survival was important to resolve the issue. If survival of the regime was the goal, the North only needed minimum deterrence, but its latest moves show it is going far beyond the goal. The North’s ICBM development is a mechanism that induces the United States to give up defending the South. The moment the North has the ability to attack the U.S. mainland, Washington has to confront the risk of giving up San Francisco and Los Angeles to help South Korea. The reliability of the extended deterrence is put in doubt. Because of the North’s ICBM, the South and the U.S. could face decoupling. North Korea’s missile technology threatening the continental U.S. is a nightmare for us. It means a game changer in the joint defense of South Korea and the U.S. that protected our safety for the past 65 years. Even if a negotiation takes place, the North will likely win recognition as a nuclear state in return for giving up the ICBM technology, and they will demand a North-U.S. peace treaty. On the Korean Peninsula, North Korea will likely enjoy a nuclear monopoly.
How to stop Nuclear Ambition
As I watched North Korea conduct its successful ICBM test last July, I was worried that the international society’s efforts to block North Korea’s nuclear development, which have been under way for the last quarter century, may ultimately result in a failure. The fact that the test was administered successfully implies that we have almost run out of time to prevent North Korea’s nuclear missile units from actually being deployed.
The adoption of the UNSC Resolution 2371 on North Korea, which contains the toughest and most effective sanction measures in past two decades of UN history, was made possible due to our sense of crisis regarding the North Korean nuclear problem, and our recognition of the importance of a strong international cooperation system. Active international cooperation is crucial to preventing North Korea’s nuclear armament.
Only if we establish a sanctions regime that is strong enough to threaten the safety of the North Korean regime will North Korea consider the option of surrendering its nuclear program. We are all well aware of the fact that imposing sanctions is not an easy process. Of course, our goal is not the sanctions themselves, but to denuclearize North Korea. Sanctions are the means through which we can denuclearize North Korea.
Dialogue with North Korea could resume at some point in the future. However, the international sanctions regime should be maintained in consistent form. The key to the solution of the North Korean nuclear problem is whether it will be possible to maintain a strong and effective international sanctions regime until denuclearization is achieved.
We should make it clear that if North Korea continues to hold onto its nuclear weapons, it will have to bear strategic costs to the extent that they can threaten its regime safety. This is, without doubt, the most important precondition for making progress in dialogue with North Korea.
How to Develop a Credible Deterrent
Our only source of comfort is that Kim Jong-un has the habit of making empty threats, but we are still uncertain about how long we should rely on the hope that Kim Jong-un is a crying wolf.
Currently, the most urgent task for us is to obtain credible deterrence against North Korea. In the face of the North’s nuclear threats, overwhelming deterrence, not diplomacy, is the only thing that can protect the South. Only if we succeed in building strong and reliable deterrence capabilities will we become able to solve the North Korean nuclear problem in the mid to long term.
Without credible deterrence, our policy toward North Korea is bound to result in a failure. Developing strong and reliable deterrence capabilities is both the starting point and basis for solving the North Korean nuclear problem through peaceful means.
It is common sense that a nuclear weapon can only be deterred by another nuclear weapon. In response to the North’s ICBM technology, we must strengthen the reliability of the U.S. nuclear umbrella. We have to ensure that the U.S. nuclear retaliation is automatic when the North conducts a nuclear provocation. Some argue that South Korea must reintroduce tactical nuclear weapons. But it is questionable if they can really be deployed, because the current political situation doesn’t even allow smooth deployment of a defense system THAAD.
In the 1980s the Soviet Union’s new nuclear missile deployment triggered a serious debate over the reliability of the U.S. nuclear umbrella over NATO allies. NATO countries strengthened the nuclear umbrella by deploying the U.S. Pershing II and cruise missiles. As of now, the United States does not have nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and in nearby waters. To protect South Korea, the strategic nuclear weapons of the U.S. mainland should be used. A submarine carrying nuclear weapons must be deployed to the East Sea to use it as a nuclear deterrence. In cooperation with Japan, which faces the same threats, the nuclear submarine needs to be managed jointly among the three countries in order to bolster the reliability of the nuclear umbrella.
To be honest, some South Koreans argue that South Korea should develop its own nuclear weapons in order to ward off threats from North Korea, while some stress the need to bring in tactical nuclear weapons from the U.S. However, South Korea is officially a nuclear-free state, and has been persistently abiding by the Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, signed between the two Koreas in 1992.What South Korea wants is denuclearization, rather than a balance of terror generated by nuclear weapons. Thus, South Korea needs to build “non-nuclear deterrence” capabilities will never become a threat to its neighboring countries.
Crossroad of Regime Transformation
Besides the strong international cooperation system and credible deterrence, there is another factor that is essential to solving the North Korean nuclear problem. That is, we should change the nature of the North Korean regime so that it can become less obsessed with nuclear weapons. In other words, we need to bring about regime transformation in North Korea.
As nighttime satellite photography suggests, in a country that even lacks the energy for powering a light bulb the regime has been spending a huge amount of money on developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
North Korea is the only country in the world that has officially declared itself as a nuclear-armed country in its constitution. Nuclear weapons can never guarantee the safety of the North Korean regime. From my point of view, North Korea currently stands at a crossroad of regime transformation.
While it would be unwise to have wishful thinking regarding the future of North Korea, the tendency to overly emphasize the durability of the North Korean regime is also a problem. Although the fact that Kim Jong-Eun’s reign of terror has generated feeling of tension and induced loyalty competition seems to illustrate the stabilization of his rule, the longer the reign of terror continues, the weaker the sense of “common destiny” between Kim Jong-un and power elite will become. Moreover, the slowdown of China’s economic growth, drop in the price of raw materials, and comprehensive sanctions imposed through the UNSC Resolutions are expected to cause severe damage to the North Korean economy.
3.3 million young North Koreans from the “Jangmadang” generation, 220,000 North Korean laborers who were dispatched overseas, 4 million cell phone users, and 400 general markets have stimulated the dissemination of information, ideological relaxation, and spread of Mormonism among the North Korean society. Thus, the North Korean leader is likely to experience more difficulties in controlling its citizens than he does in is close associates.
The Kim Jong-un regime has been tolerating the private economic sector, in the face of malfunction of the planned economy. Expansion and of the private economy could accelerate the weakening of centrally planned economy, undermining the state’s control over the economy and society.
In conclusion, considerable internal contradictions exist in North Korea’s political system, economy, and society. At least, the irreversible trend of decentralization is progressing in its economy. The North Korean leaders will increasingly come to stand at a cross of regime transformation. It is becoming an unavoidable reality.