South Korea Flag for South Korea

South Korea

Since the Korean War, South Korea has maintained a bilateral security alliance with the United States which includes extended nuclear deterrence and cooperation on missile defense. After abandoning its nuclear weapons development in the 1970s, South Korea has sought to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula diplomatically.

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Region   East Asia and the Pacific

26% Country’s electricity supplied by nuclear energy

~3,000 Metric tons of chemical warfare agents eliminated

800 km Former ballistic missile range limit imposed by U.S.; now unlimited


Nuclear

  • Abandoned nuclear weapons ambitions after U.S. pressure in the 1970s
  • Signed Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in 1992 
  • Major supplier of civilian nuclear expertise and technology

South Korea Nuclear Overview


Biological

  • Committed to defensive research and development against biological weapons
  • Rapid infrastructural response to public health emergencies 
  • Had a 5-year collaboration with the US to train for biological outbreaks 


Missile

  • Possesses ballistic and cruise missile development programs
  • U.S.-imposed ballistic missile range restrictions lifted in 2021
  • Only non-nuclear weapon state with submarine-launched missiles

South Korea Missile Overview


Chemical

  • No public acknowledgement of Cold War-era chemical weapons program
  • Member of the Australia Group (AG) for chemical and biological strategic trade
  • Second Chemical Weapons Convention member to eliminate entire stockpile

Treaties and Regimes Memberships

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NPT

The NPT is a treaty aimed at limiting the spread of nuclear weapons through the three pillars of non-proliferation, disarmament, and peaceful use of nuclear energy.

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Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty bans all nuclear explosion tests on Earth. It needs eight key countries to ratify before entry into force.

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Biological Weapons Convention (BTWC)

The BTWC mandates the elimination of existing biological weapons and prohibits developing, stockpiling, or using biological and toxin weapons.

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Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) requires countries to destroy all chemical weapons and prohibits developing, stockpiling, or using chemical weapons.

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Analysis

South Korea


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