The pros and cons of a nuclear South Korea

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SEOUL – Few nations look as vulnerable to nuclear strikes as South Korea.

The country lies directly south of fierce rival North Korea, which has been nuclear-capable since 2006. Since 2021, Pyongyang has been expanding its existing long-range strategic deterrent – which most believe is aimed at the US – by developing shorter-range tactical capabilities.

Off-peninsula developments are equally sobering. Russia has successfully ring-fenced its February invasion of Ukraine by threatening nuclear use against any nation that dares to cross its red lines. As a result, while Kiev receives moral, financial and arms support from Western partners, it stands alone on the battlefield.

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