North Korea’s nuclear arms and U.S. Forces in Korea

Contributor: Nam Sang-so

A Japanese monthly and political literary magazine based in Tokyo, Bungeishunju (文芸春秋) has published in its October 2018 issue with a headline; “The cold war…

Topic: History
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A Japanese monthly and political literary magazine based in Tokyo, Bungeishunju (文芸春秋) has published in its October 2018 issue with a headline; “The cold war between Japan and China,” subtitled “The North’s nuclear arms are not bad for Japan. The article was written by Edward Luttwak, senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies of the United States. Here is an excepted version of his words which closely relates with the threats of the nuclear arms of North Korea and stationing of the U.S. Forces in South Korea in preventing a possible nuclear war.

Luttwak says there can be basically four scenarios on a unified Korea; 1) Denuclearized Korea with U.S. Forces Korea stationing. 2) Denuclearized Korea without U.S. Forces Korea. 3) Possessing nuclear arms while U.S. Forces Korea staying. 4) Denuclearized Korea without U.S. Forces in Korea. The U.S. political scientist further predicts that the option 3) would be a realistic possibility among the four scenarios as the North has nuclear arms and the U.S. Forces are stationed in the South. The future of the geopolitical situation in the Korean peninsula would greatly depend upon developments of the North’s nuclear arms and the U.S. Forces in South Korea.

The most favorable scenario for Japan would be the scenario 1) No nuclear in the North but keeping the U.S. Forces in Korea. If it was the case of 4) Without U.S. Force in Korea with denuclearized North, it would be better for Japan with the scenario 3) which is the current antagonistic stance. It should be noted that there is a strong belief in the South that the North’s nuclear arms are “our arms” and also “U.S. Forces won’t be needed in Korea after the unification,” Luttwak says.

The worst scenario for Japan would be the case 2) No nuclear arms, no U.S. Forces in Korea. This option might give China a chance to interfere with the unified Korea and China would attempt to place the peninsular under its political and economic influences. Japan should do best to avoid this scenario. Then the option 3) of the current situation is not a bad option.

North Koreans, on the contrary to the common belief, do not trust Chinese and they know that it would be almost impossible to rivalry with China without having nuclear arms. The North knows that stationing of the U.S. Forces in Korea is rather essential to deal with China’s unsolicited interference.

Under the circumstance, removal of the current economic sanctions is the utmost wish of the North now and it has halted the tests of nuclear arms and missiles. But Trump is pushing its demand back saying that “It was already a big concession that we didn’t carry out a preemptive strike against the North.”

There are not so many nuclear facilities in the North and they are not spread out in a wide area. So that it shouldn’t take too long to dismantle the nuclear arms facilities. It would require some time to pull out all the nuclear fuel which would involve technicalities. A complete denuclearization of the North should be possible within five years, or may be even in a year.

An enormous amount of fund of the economic aids for the North would be required once denuclearization started because it would necessitate not only its initial fund but continuous pouring of the funds will be involved. And in order to maintain a newly established political system of North Korea, it would be essential for the North to have continued stationing of the U.S. Forces in the Korean peninsula, plus economical aids from overseas countries. This is where and when Japan could increase its voices. That would be good time to raise the kidnap issue with the North… (Abridged)

Note: Edward Nicolae Luttwak (November 1942 ~ ) was born into a Jewish family in Arad, Romania. After working for the British, French, and Israeli militaries, he moved to the United States in 1972 for graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University, where he received his doctorate in 1975. He has served as a consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council, the United States Department of State, the United States Navy, United States Army, United States Air Force, and several NATO defense ministries. He co-developed the current maneuver-warfare concept, working for the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, he introduced the “Operational level of War” concept into U.S. Army doctrine… Omitted some details. Re: Wikipedia.

By Nam Sang-so, a retired architect/engineer who had worked with Trans-Asia Engineers at Building 1510, Main Post, U.S. Army Yongsan Garrison and Camp Humphreys (K-6) over 20 years.