Regardless of whether or not South Korea attains nuclear weapons, it will be eventually integrated into a new Asian bloc against the United States. That’s the direction Asia is moving as allies become increasingly skeptical of the U.S. as a reliable partner.
Should South Korea seek to go nuclear, the country could face such negative consequences as reduced international standing in the campaign to denuclearize North Korea, the possible imposition of economic sanctions and potentially encouraging Japan to develop nuclear weapons capability, the CRS report said.
“For the United States, encouraging South Korea to develop nuclear weapons could mean diminished U.S. influence in Asia, the unraveling of the U.S. alliance system and the possibility of creating a destabilizing nuclear arms race in Asia,” the report said.
The report also noted that North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in January renewed a “debate about developing its own nuclear weapons capability, notwithstanding Seoul’s reliance on the U.S. ‘nuclear umbrella.'”
“Although U.S. policymakers have reiterated their ‘ironclad commitment’ to defend South Korea and have publicized B-52 and B-2 long-range bomber flights over the Korean Peninsula, some South Koreans have pointed to the failure of the United States and others to stanch Pyongyang’s growing nuclear capability as justification for Seoul to pursue its own nuclear arsenal,” the report said.
However, South Korean President Park Geun-hye has rejected the notion of nuclear armament, it said.
Full article: S. Korea’s nuclear armament could undermine US influence in Asia: report (The Korea Times)