Friday, January 8, 2016

Jooeun Kim. Rethinking the Origins of North Korea’s Nuclear Program. Nuclear Scholars Initiative, A Collection of Papers from the 2014 Nuclear Scholars Initiative. Center for Strategic & International Studies. 2015.

  After three Nuclear tests, North Korea is a de facto Nuclear State. While the recent Nuclear tests and the processes of developing a Nuclear Weapons capability since the first Nuclear crisis in 1993 receive much more attention from policy circles, this chapter aims to bring the attention back to the origins of North Korea’s efforts to develop Nuclear Weapons. As it is unlikely that North Korea will disarm in the near future, it is more important to understand why North Korea first became interested in developing a Nuclear Deterrent while it was under the Nuclear umbrella of the Soviet Union and, later, China. The United States, which provides a Nuclear umbrella to cover its East Asia Allies, could learn lessons from the North Korean proliferation. While it is true that North Korea faced external Threats from the United States and South Korea, this chapter argues that North Korea first explored its Nuclear programme decades ago due to the unreliability of the extended Deterrence of its Ally.


In March 1993, North Korea (officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or DPRK), one of the last bastions of unreformed Communism following the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, declared its intent to withdraw from [] (NPT), sending the signal that it was moving forward in developing an indigenous Nuclear programme. (2) This set the stage for what is commonly referred to as the first Nuclear crisis. Pyong-yang later suspended its withdrawal and entered into an Agreement with Washington that was intended to pave the way to normalisation of Relations between the two States. The “Agreed Framework” broke down, and in 2003 North Korea actually carried out its Threat to withdraw from the NPT – making it the first State to do so. In 2006, North Korea became the ninth Country to obtain Nuclear Weapons. (3) Today, North Korea is an isolated, impoverished Nation that possesses Nuclear Weapons. It is this nexus of Nuclear Weapons and improverishment, along with the concern that the cash-strapped Regime may sell Weapons to irreponsible States or even terrorist Groups, that have pushed North Korea to the top of the U.S. Foreign Policy agenda. (4)
Many scholars and policy analysts who write about the Motivations for North Korea’s Nuclear programme overemphasise the importance of the external environmental Security Threats to which North Korea was exposed after the collapse of its patron Ally, the Soviet Union. (5) However, newly declassified Soviet documents from September 1991 (before the collapse of the Soviet Union) demonstrate that Soviet officials already held serious concerns about a North Korea Nuclear programme for several years. In a meeting between Soviet Foreign Ministry officials and the North Korean ambassador, Son Seong-Pil, soviet officials pressured North Korea to sign the safeguard Agreement with the [IAEA], threatening to terminate Nuclear power plant construction assistance, halt the supply of Fuel Resources, and end all Military assistance. (6)
Long before the end of the Cold War, in the early 1960s, and three decades before the isolated North Korean Regime used the Threat of developing an indigenous Nuclear Weapons programme as leverage over the United States, the DPRK sought a nuclear deterrent. North Korea pursued Nuclear Weapons despite being protected by the Nuclear arsenals of its Allies: the Soviet Union – which possessed a Nuclear arsenal – and China, which by 1964 had detonated its own device. (7) using newly obtained and translated primary source documents from the archives of North Korea’s present and former Communist Allies, this chapter aims to go beyond the conventional explanation of Nuclear proliferation in North Korea – that is, the deterioration of external Security Environment as the trigger of the programme. (8) Rather, this chapter attempts to show that the unreliability of the Soviet Nuclear umbrella – and, after Nuclear umbrella – and, after 1964, the Chinese umbrella as well – contributed to North Korea’s initial decision to fortify its national Security by developing an indigenous Nuclear Weapons programme.

While other scholars (9) have identified Moscow’s perceived unreliability as a motivating factor in the evolution of North Korea’s thinking about an indigenous Nuclear Deterrent, this chapter utilises new Russian and Chinese documents, including recently obtained conversations with North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, to confirm and reinforce this argument. These newly obtained archival documents describe a process of hypermilitarisation of North Korea starting in December 1962 under the so-called Byungjin Line (byungjin rosun), which called for the simultaneous development of heavy Industry and national Defense capabilities. As the documents reveal, a critical component of the buildup of national Defense capabilities was the development of an indigenous Nuclear Weapons programme, though this was not to be achieved for another four decades.
The remainder of this chapter proceeds as follows. In the following section, the existing literature on why States proliferate in relations to North Korea’s case is discussed to see how the case could be better understood. In the next section, the inception stage of North Korea’s Nuclear programme is investigated, as well as the reasons why the unreliability of its Soviet Alliance compelled North Korea to develop Nuclear Weapons using Soviet Nuclear Technology. In the final section, policy recommendations for current Nuclear umbrellas in the context of future East Asian Nuclear proliferation are presented.

Alliance Dynamics and Proliferation

Threats to national Security are thought to be the major Motivation for States to seek Nuclear Weapons. (10) However, in case of junior Allies, who are heavily dependent on patron Allies for their national Security, Threat perception can be swayed by Alliance dilemmas and patron Ally’s extended Deterrence guarantees. (11) Moreover, the Fear of “abandonment,” resulting from a junior Ally’s perception that a patron Ally’s conventional and Nuclear Security guarantees are reduced or absent, can trigger junior Allies’ pursuit of a Nuclear Weapons programme.
Recent research on Nuclear proliferation takes this Alliance dynamic into consideration. Political scientist Avery Goldstein argues that three second-ranking Powers – Britain, China, and France – did not value the Security guarantee provided by their Superpower partners, the United States and the Soviet Union, leading to those countries’ decisions to proliferate. (12) For example, Britain and France, even with NATO Security guarantees, did not fully trust that the United States would come to their Aid in the case of a confrontation with the Soviet Union. (13) However, Goldstein’s analysis is limited to second-ranking Powers’ decision and does not account for what made the patron Allies unreliable. While it is important to analyse great Powers’ and second-tier Powers’ Security policies, if the conflicts in the post-Cold War international system are caused by small States such as North Korea and Iran, it is also important to study those States’ Histories and policies.
International Relations scholar Etel Soligen also argued that the Security Threat cannot be the main reason behind North Korea’s Nuclear development. (14) First, North Korea was under the Nuclear umbrellas of two great Power Allies (following the 1964 detonation of the Chinese Bomb) through mutual Defense Treaties signed in 1961. The rationale behind this argument is that, even if you have enemies such as the United States and South Korea, due to the extended Deterrence provided by major Power Allies the Security Threat should bee reduced. Also, when North Korea started to develop the Weapons program in the 1960s, the United States, the greatest Threat to North Korea, was focused on the War in Vietnam. North Korea understood that the United States would not want to open another front in Asia and start the second Korean War. (15) However, Soligen does not trace the History of why North Korea had to develop their Nuclear programme to defend against the Superpower Threat while under the Soviet and Chinese Nuclear umbrellas. (16)
In the following section, using primary source documents, the History of North Korea’s Weapons programme as part of its hypermilitarisation under the Byungjin Line will be explored in order to shed light on the relations with its Superpower Ally and the unreliability of its Nuclear umbrella.

History of North Korea’s Mistrust and Longing for Autonomy

While it is difficult to get into the minds of leaders, one can easily surmise that North Korea’s Kim Il Sung had an appreciation for the Power of Nuclear Weapons dating back to 1945. Despite Korean attempts to achieve national Liberation through nearly fifteen years of guerrilla Warfare against Japan, it was two U.S. bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that brought an end to Japanese colonial Rule over Korea. (17)
In the years following the establishment of the DPRK in 1948, Kim Il Sung, who had come to Power with Soviet backing, maintained close Relations with Moscow, which had become a Nuclear Power in 1949. Following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Kim also developed strong Relations with Beijing. North Korea benefited tremendously from these two Alliances Relationships during the 1950-1953 Korean War. Moscow provided Military equipment and Beijing dispatched several hundred thousand “volunteers” that prevented North Korea from being wiped off the map. Yet, it was during this period that tensions and doubts also began to emerge in Pyongyang’s Relations with its two patron Allies. [] Stalin’s refusal to directly commit Troops following the September 1950 Incheon Landing, which resulted in a complete rout of North Korean Forces, and Chinese commander Peng Dehuai’s heavy-handed treatment of Kim Il Sung, led to tensions that lingered on even after the July 1953 Armistice. (18)
Despite tensions, North Korea maintained close Relations with the Soviet Union and China, partly because of the tremendous role the two patron Allies played in the reconstruction of the War-torn Country throughout the 1950s but also to gain access to advanced Technologies, particularly from Moscow and its Eastern and central European satellite States. This included Nuclear Technology. In 1956, the Soviets signed an Agreement to train North Korean technicians in peaceful use of Nuclear Technology at Soviet Nuclear research facilities. (19) In 1959, the Soviets signed another deal with the North Koreans to provide them with a research reactor, which was completed in 1965. (20)
While China was incapable of providing the advanced Technology North Korea desired, tens of thousands of Chinese “volunteers” remained in North Korea after the War to help with reconstruction. The lingering tensions after the 1956 incident in which Chinese and Soviet officials interfered in an internal North Korea dispute and the desire to limit the influence of Pyongyang’s patron Allies over North Korean Politics led Kim Il Sung, in 1957, to propose the withdrawal of the remaining Chinese Forces from the Country. (21) This pullout was carried out in the Fall of 1958, over seven years after Chinese Forces entered Korea. By coincidence, as Chinese Troops withdrew from Korea, the United States began to introduce “new Weapons” to South Korea. Specifically, the United States developed Honest John Missiles and 280-mm atomic cannons to the peninsula. (22) North Korea was well aware of U.S. Nuclear capabilities and the consequences they would bring for the peninsula. Therefore, in this period, North Korea began to discuss the prospect of Nuclear Weapons. (23)
With the introduction of Nuclear Weapons to South Korea, the importance of Pyong-yang’s Military Alliances, particularly with the more technologically advanced and Nuclear-armed Moscow, became more important. While traveling to Moscow in late January 1959 to attend the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s (CPSU) 21st Congress, Kim proposed signing a mutual cooperation Treaty with the Soviet Union. Though Khrushchev consented and also agreed to visit Pyongyang later that year to sign the Agreement, for over two years the Kremlin Leader found reasons to postpone his trip to the North Korean capital. Khrushchev was scheduled to travel to Pyongyang in the fall of 1959 but canceled, suggesting that it would be inadvisable to sign such an Agreement with North Korea in the wake of his trip to Washington. (24) The trip was rescheduled for September of 1960, though it was again postponed because he was allegedly too busy preparing for the CPSU’s 22nd Congress later in October. In the spring of 1961, Khrushchev again explained that it would be difficult to travel to North Korea. After two previous cancellations, however, Khrushchev had become aware that Kim Il Sung was growing impatient and believed the cancellations to be connected to the Soviet leader’s desire to improve Relations with the United States. (25)
On the southern half of the Peninsula, Major General Park Chung Hee seized Power through a military Coup d’État on 16 May 1961. As newly obtained and translated Chinese records reveal, the alarming events in Seoul put Pyongyang in Crisis mode. Two days after the Coup, the North Korean Leadership abandoned plans for economic Reform and instead proposed shifting expenditures towards national Defense Industries. (26)
In late May, Khrushchev dispatched First Deputy Premier Alexei Kosygin to Pyongyang. Kosygin, perhaps as a response to the troubling developments in South Korea, invited Kim Il Sung to visit Moscow to sign the Agreement. In late June, barely six weeks after the Park Chung Hee Coup d’État, Kim departed for the Soviet capital. During his visit, he and Khrushchev finally signed the Agreement. Days later, Kim traveled to Beijing, where he signed a nearly identical Agreement with China, which, having fallen out with the Soviets, sought to win the allegiance of the North Koreans. It is not clear from the documentary evidence how valuable Kim believed the Sino-DPRK Treaty to be, as Beijing had not yet detonated its first Nuclear device and did not have as advanced a Weapons Industry as Moscow.
While Kim Il Sung must have been relieved to finally have a Security guarantee from Moscow after the introduction of Nuclear Weapons to Seoul and the Park Chung Hee Coup d’État, the difficulties he encountered in signing the Agreement likely left him with the impression that Khrushchev did not fully appreciate Kim’s Security concerns, leading to doubts about Moscow’s commitment to North Korea’s Security.
By October 1962, Kim, already full of doubts, had his suspicions confirmed after the Cuban Missile Crisis, when Khrushchev “betrayed Cuba.” (27) North Korean Vice Premier Kim Il later explained to Alexei Kosygin that as a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the North Korean Leadership felt that it “could not count that the Soviet Government would keep the obligations related to the defense of Korea it assumed in the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance.” (28) What the North Koreans viewed as Soviet capitulation in the face of pressure from the Kennedy Administration demonstrated that Khrushchev was more concerned about peaceful coexistence than he was in aiding smaller socialist Countries vulnerable to being picked off, one by one, by the United States. (29)
North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun published an editorial on 29 October 1962, harshly criticising Khrushchev for capitulating to the United States. (30) Moreover, as newly obtained Soviet records reveal, Kim Il Sung informed Soviet ambassador Moskovsky that after “new American equipment” was introduced in South Korea, North Korea’s decision on strengthening the DPRK’s battle readiness and defense Forces was no longer sufficient. Therefore, Kim asked for permission to send a delegation to Moscow to discuss Military Aid. (31) Kim requested that the Soviet Union deliver – “free or charge” – over 100 million rubles in Military Aid to North Korea. Specifically, to enhance coastal defenses, he asked for submarines, and for the defense of Cities he requested an unspecified number of MiG-21s and 12 surface-to-air Missile batteries. Kim played up the Threat not just to North Korea but also to the Soviet Union if North Korea, which borders the Soviet Far East, were to fall to the imperialists. Kim slyly remarked, “I know that [First Secretary Khrushchev and Second Secretary Frol Kozolv] are no less concerned than I about the Defense of the Far Eastern forward post ... It provides a convenient platform for the Enemy’s landing.” (32) After receiving word through Ambassador Moskovsky that the Soviet Leadership was prepared to receive a North Korean delegation to discuss Military Assistance, Kim dispatched Deputy Premier Kim Gwanghyeop to Moscow in late November to work out the terms of the Military Aid to the DPRK. Yet, the visit to Moscow ended in failure. Kim Il Sung’s Government could not pay for this vital Military Assistance; Moscow would sell the Weapons to Pyongyang but not give them for free or even on credit. (33)
This certainly reinforced Pyongyang’s mistrust of the Soviet Leadership. One week after the delegation returned from Moscow, the Fifth Plenum of the Fourth Central Committee of the ruling Korean Worker’s Party was held in secret, an unusual move even by North Korean standards. The North Koreans were so frustrated by the perceived Soviet betrayal that they did not even bother to inform the embassy of the December Plenum, which had been a standard practice. (34) The plenum formally adopted the Byungjim Line, or the “equal emphasis policy,” which called for simultaneous Development of heavy Industry and Defense capabilities. The plenum also declared Four Military Guidelines (sadae kunsanoseon): to arm the entire Population; to fortify the entire Country; to train the entire Army as a “cadre Army”; and to modernise Weaponry, Doctrine, and Tactics under the principle of self-reliance in national Defense. (35) The Party also revived the Wartime Military Committee (kunsa wiweonhoe). (36) These measures resulted in a hypermilitarisation of North Korea Society.
It is important to note just how extreme a measure this was for North Korea, which had recently completed a highly successful Five-Year Plan. While Chinese documents reveal that the Standing Committee of the Korean Worker’s Party Central Committee had recommended modifying the Seven-Year Plan in the wake of the May 1961 military Coup d’État in South Korea, that plan was suspended and the plan was launched as originally conceived, perhaps after signing Agreements with both Moscow and Beijing. The Seven-Year Plan, by December 1962 already completing its first year, was slated to de-emphasise heavy Industry and focus – after eight years of intense heavy Industry centered Development – on the improuvement of Living Conditions through the Development of light Industry and Consumer Goods. Thus, changing the Seven-Year Plan at this stage was an extreme measure signaling a complete change in North Korean planning.
North Korea took immediate measures to enhance Defense capabilities and began the construction of fortifications in mountains throughout the Country. (37) As Soviet and Hungarian records reveal, in addition to these measures, North Korea also sought to obtain the Technology to develop an indigenous Nuclear Weapons programme. This pursuit of a Nuclear Deterrent became clear through a sudden and keen interest in Nuclear Technology from the Spring of 1963. In the early 1960s, Soviet specialists were in the DPRK conducting tests on uranium ore found on the northern half of the peninsula. Alarm bells were set off in the Soviet embassy when North Korean officials suddenly began to make inquiries about how they might develop the mining of uranium ore on a broad scale. The Soviet specialists explained that such an Operation would be very costly. Moreover, they informed the North Koreans that Korean uranium ore was “not rich” and “very scarce.” (38) This did not deter those making the inquiries, who only days later asked about Korea’s prospects for building their own Atomic Bomb. Attempting to discourage his interlocutors, the specialists insisted that “the Economy of the DPRK cannot cope with the creation of Nuclear Weapons.” Again undeterred, the North Korean retorted that “it would cost much less in the DPRK than in other Countries. If we tell our workers, ... they will agree to work free of charge for several years.” The Soviet embassy gave explicit instructions to the specialists to avoid all further Discussions about uranium and Weapons with North Koreans. (39)
North Korea would not develop an indigenous Nuclear Weapons programme for another fifty years. However, lack of Faith in the Soviet extended Deterrent, coupled with an unfavourable status quo following the introduction of Nuclear Weapons to South Korea and the presence of an antiCommunist military Junta in Seoul, led to North Korea’s initial decision to seek a Nuclear Deterrent of its own. As a result of Moscow’s lack of credibility, the course of North Korean economic and military planning was forever altered. This had a transformative effort on the Country, which became hypermilitarised under the Byungjin Line. North Korea began to make a multidecade and extremely costly Investment in Science and Technology in pursuit of its national Defense goals. By 1965, the share of national Defense to the total national Budget had risen to over 30 percent, representing 1.2 billion won, from a mere 4.3 percent less than a decade before. (40) The goal of this costly programme was to maximise indigenous Production and minimise reliance on foreign Suppliers. This did not mean that Pyongyang was unwilling to assimilate foreign Science and Technology. This was particularly the case with Nuclear Weapons Technology. The DPRK even asked China, once Relations were restored in the mid-1970s following a Sino-Korean split during the Cultural Revolution, to train North Korean specialists in the Development of Nuclear Weapons. Even until the 1980s, North Korea showed an effort to receive civilian Nuclear assistance from the Soviet Union and other Eastern European Allies. (41)


While there are several Motivations behind a State’s pursuit of Nuclear Weapons, for junior Allies, the unreliability of its patron Ally’s Nuclear umbrella could be the biggest motivating factor. For North Korea, the difficulty of receiving a written assurance and the way the Soviet Union handled the Cuban Missile Crisis made North Korea realise that the Soviet Union was not trustworthy, and these issues dramatically shifted Pyongyang’s Domestic Policy to fortify the Country from December 1962. This was a monumental shift in North Korean planning that, in part, likely led to the Country’s economic slowdown by the 1970s and eventual and dramatic collapse in the 1990s.
Tracing the origins of North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons does not indicate how those Weapons changed – or did not change – the State’s strategic calculus. However, understanding why they first explored the Weapons helps to understand why small States might seek Nuclear Weapons while under a Nuclear umbrella. While there are many arguments that bilateral Security guarantees of U.S.-South Korea and U.S.-Japan have been the main reason why the two junior Allies have not developed their own Nuclear Weapons, it is less commonly thought that North Korea might have wanted the Weapon early on due to the fact that the Soviet Nuclear umbrella was less credible. Rather than treating North Korea as a rogue Regime, it is advisable to try to understand the reasons for its conduct.
Even with Allies, and even with one (and later two) Nuclear umbrella(s), North Korea sought its own Deterrent through the development of an indigenous Nuclear Weapons programme. On 12 February 2013, two decades since the first Nuclear crisis, North Korea conducted its third underground Nuclear test, the first under the new leadership of Kim Jong-un. North Korea is not likely to give up its Nuclear capabilities. (42) Indeed, one month after the third Nuclear test, North Korea reintroduced the Byungjin Line, but the 2013 version calls for the simultaneous development of the Nuclear programme and improvements to Living Conditions. While the term used is the same, Byungjin of 1962 and its 2013 version are fundamentally different in that the recent programme’s aim seems to be to reduce Expenditures on conventional Military Forces and focus on the Nuclear Deterrent so that the Country can at long last improuve Living Conditions, a goal that had been scuttled after the 1962 change to the Seven-Year Plan. To be realistic, this makes it less likely that North Korea will be willing to disarm. The international Community can reduce the possibility of potential Nuclear standoff in the Region by learning from the sources of North Korean conduct and apply it to other cases. (43) If a Nuclear-armed patron Ally does not want to see further proliferation in East Asia or in the World in general, the Nuclear umbrella has to be credible. North Korea’s case demonstrates that even if junior Allies enjoy formal Alliances with patron Allies, if the Nuclear umbrella is not credible, they can seek their own Nuclear deterrent. With a February 2013 South Korean poll revealing a high level of support for a domestic Nuclear programme, the more urgent task for the United States as a patron Ally may not be a speedy resolution to North Korea’s disarmament – which, given its History, will likely not be carried out voluntarily – but to credibly project its Nuclear umbrella so that both South Korea and Japan see no need to develop their own Weapons programmes. (44) A statement by former Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa summarises the importance of the U.S. Nuclear umbrella very well: “It is in the interest of the United States, so long as it does not wish to see Japan withdraw from the [NPT] and develop its own Nuclear Deterrent, to mainain its Alliance with Japan and continue to provide a Nuclear umbrella.” (45)
There was debate about whether the United States and other Countries should engage or contain North Korea during Negotiations in the 1990s and early 2000s. (46) The issue of whether or not the United States should have engaged with North Korea is not covered in this chapter. But whether or not a Bomb was a goal all along for North Korea, it is clear that the possession of Nuclear Weapons by the DPRK or other small Countries in the future does not help the United States because it limits U.S. Freedom of Action. (47) The United States has to take into consideration the possibility of North Korea’s Nuclear retaliation against U.S. Cities or allied Territory when taking action against North Korea. [Fuck me.] The United States can learn a lesson from the North Korean case and better understand why having a credible Nuclear umbrella is essential to prevent Allies from going Nuclear in the future and consequently limiting its Freedom of Action.

1.      Jooeun Kim is a PhD candidate in the Department of Government at Georgetown University.
2.      For example, “N Korea withdraws from nuclear pact,” BBC News, January 10, 2003,; “North Korea leaves nuclear pact,” CNN, January 10, 2003,; “North Korea Assailed for Withdrawing from Arms Treaty,” New York Times,
3.      There is still some Debate about whether the first Test was a success, as the explosion yield was low.
4.      See Robert S. Litwak, Outlier States: American Strategies to Change, Contain, or Engage Regimes (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2012): 138.
5.      For example, David Kang argues, “Although during the Cold War the North was the aggressor, this shift in Power put in on the defensive. It was only when the balance began to turn against the North that it began to pursue a Nuclear Weapons programme.” Victor Cha and David Kang, Nuclear North Korea: A Debate on Engagement Strategies (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003), 45; Similarly, Victor Cha, when analysing the purpose of a Weapons programme, claims, “At a minimum, one could posit that a primarily political goal of the DPRK Regime and its juche Strategy is State survival and protection of national Sovereignty, given the deterioratioing domestic and geostrategic condition since the end of the Cold War.” Victor Cha, “North Korea’s Weapons of Mass Destruction: Badges, Shields, or Swords?,” Political Science Quarterly 117, no. 2 (2002): 214.
6.      Record of Conversation between F.G. Kundaze and Son Seong-Pil (State Archive of the Russian Federation [GARF], 20 September 1991), fond 10026, opis 4, delo 2803, listy 1-3.
7.      While North Korea enjoyed Alliances with two great Powers, I only focus on its Alliance with the superpower Ally, the Soviet Union, because I only treat the inception stage of North Korea’s Nuclear programme.
8.      There are some examples that used the primary documents and analysed the Motivation behind North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons programme: However, recently more documents have been uncovered, and we can more definitely trace the thinking of North Korean leadership. For recent examples, see Jonathan D. Pollack, No Exit: North Korea, Nuclear Weapons and International Security (New York: Routledge, 2011); Balazs Szalontai and Sergey Radchenko, North Korea’s Efforts to Acquire Nuclear Technology and Nuclear Weapons: Evidence from Russian and Hungarian Archives (working paper, Washington, DC: Cold War International History Project, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, August 2006).
9.      See, for example, Alexandre Mansourov, “The Origins, Evolution, and Current Politics of the North Korean Nuclear Program,” Nonproliferation Review (spring-summer 1995); Michael J. Mazarr, North Korea and the Bomb: A Case Study in Nonproliferation (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995); Pollack, No Exit.
10.   Scott D. Sagan, “Why Do States Build Nuclear Weapons? Three Models in Search of a Bomb,” International Security 21, no. 3 (winter 1996-1997): 54-86. Sagan also published this article in revised form as “Rethinking the Causes of Nuclear Proliferation: Three Models in Search of a Bomb,” in The Coming Crisis: Nuclear Proliferation, US Interests, and World Order, ed. Victor A. Utgoff (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000); Kenneth Waltz, “Nuclear Myths and Political Realities,” American Political Science Review 84, no. 3 (September 1990): 731-745; Kenneth M. Waltz, “More May Be Better,” in The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate, eds. Scott D. Sagan and Kenneth N. Waltz (New York/London: W.W. Norton, 1995)
11.   On Alliance dilemmas, see Glenn H. Snyder, Alliance Politics (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2007).
12.   Avery Goldstein, “Discounting the free ride: alliance and security in the postwar world,” International Organization 49, no. 1 (winter 1995): 39-71; Avery Goldstein, Deterrence and Security in the 21st Century: China, Britain, France, and the Enduring Legacy of the Nuclear Revolution (Redwood City, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000).
13.   Also, for a similar argument on Britain, see Kenneth N. Waltz, Peace, Stability, and Nuclear Weapons (policy paper, San Diego, CA: University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, August 1995): 5.
14.   Etel Solingen, Nuclear logics: Contrasting paths in East Asia and the Middle East (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009): 119.
15.   Richard Rosecrance, The Dispersion of Nuclear Weapons: Strategy and Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1964), 301, as quoted in Solingen, Nuclear logics.
16.   Solingen also mentions that South Korea’s Nuclear programme did not start until the 1970s; therefore the “reactive proliferation” argument is also not sufficient. See Solingen, Nuclear logics. However, Michael Mazarr gives a contrasting view on South Korea’s role in North Korea’s Nuclear Motivation. See Michael J. Mazarr, “Going Just a Little Nuclear: Nonproliferation Lessons from North Korea,” International Security 20, no. 2 (fall 1995): 100.
17.   Mansourov, “Origins, Evolution and Current Politics,” 28.
18.   See, for example, “Information on the Situation in the DPRK,” April 1955, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars,
19.   See, for example, “Journal of Soviet Ambassador in the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 17 May 1958,” May 17, 1958. History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars,
20.   Alexander Zhebin, “A Political History of Soviet-North Korean Nuclear Cooperation,” in The North Korean Nuclear Program: Security, Strategy, and New Perspectives from Russia, eds. James Clay Moltz and Alexandre Y. Mansourov (New York: Routledge, 2000), 28-30.
21.   See “Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 4 June 1957,” June 04, 1957, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars,; and “Minutes of Conversation between Zhou Enlai and Soviet Ambassador Yudin (Excerpt),” January 08, 1958, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars,
22.   See National Archives and Records Administration, “Records of the Department of State Internal Affairs of Korea, 1955-1959,” Decimal File 795, .00/7-157 to .00/2-2458, Roll #6.
23.   Pollack, No Exit, 47.
24.   See “Report, Embassy of the Hungarian People’s Republic in the DPRK to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary,” March 16, 1961, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars,
25.   “Memorandum of Conversation between N.S. Khrushchev and Kim Gwanghyeop, March 1961,” from the personal archive of V.P. Tkachenko, cited in Koreiskii Poluostrov i interesi Rossii [The Korean Peninsulla and Russia’s Interests] (Moscow: Vostochnaya Literatura, 2000), 20-21.
26.   “Contents of the May 18th North Korean Party Central Standing Committee Meeting,” May 21, 1961. History of Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars,
27.   “Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry, 8 January 1965,” MOL, XIX-J-1-j Korea, 1965, 73, doboz, IV-100, 001819/1965. In the recent H-Diplo debate, Matthew Fuhrmann, Matthew Kroenig, and Todd S. Sechser argued against Frank Gavin, claiming that Gavin does not provide the criteria for an important case of Nuclear Deterrence and Coercion when arguing that the 1958-1962 case is critical in understanding Nuclear Weapons. They also argue that by no means would policymakers go back to this case in the past in order to derive policy implications for the cases of Iran and North Korea. However, while I do not dispute their claim that focusing on just one case is not enough for generalisation and policy implications of Nuclear issues, we need to understand for North Korea’s case that the Cuban Missile Crisis changed Alliance dynamics with the Soviet Union and the Soviet Nuclear umbrella’s credibility. See Matthew Fuhrmann, Matthew Kroenig, and Todd S. Sechser, “Response: ‘The Case for Using Statistics to Study Nuclear Security,’” H-Diplo/ISSF Forum, 2014.
28.   “Record of a conversation with the Soviet Ambassador in the DPRK Comrade V.P. Moskovsky about the negotiations between the Soviet delegation, led by the USSR Council of Ministers Chairman Kosygin, and the governing body of the Korean Workers Party,” February 16, 1965, Czech Foreign Ministry Archive. Similarly, according to Wolf Mendl, the French Nuclear Armament can be justified by events surrounding the War in Indochina and Suez Crisis in 1956: “Both these incidents provide a basis for the Theory that in conditions of Nuclear stalemate between the super Powers a Nation cannot rely upon its Ally for protection when the issue is not of vital interest to that Ally.” Wolf Mendl, Deterrence and Persuasion (London: Faber and Faber, 1970).
29.   “Record of a conversation with the Soviet Ambassador.”
30.   Yonhap News Agency, North Korea Handbook (Seoul: East Gate, 2002): 948. Also see James F. Person, “North Korea and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” Wilson Center,
31.   “Memorandum of Conversation between Soviet Ambassador to North Korea Vasily Moskovsky and Kim Il Sung,” November 1, 1962.
32.   Ibid.
33.   See Balazs Szalontai, Kim Il Sung in the Khrushchev Era, Soviet-DPRK Relations and the Roots of North Korean Despotism, 1953-1964 (Redwood City, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006), 192.
34.   “Memorandum of Conversation between Soviet Ambassador to North Korea Vasily Moskovsky and North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Seongcheol,” December 29, 1962.
35.   “Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry,” February 15, 1963.
36.   As Daesook Suh writes, the Supreme People’s Assembly had established the Military Committee during the Korean War. The Party revived it under the auspices of the Central Committee in 1962. See Daesook Suh, Kim Il Sung: The North Korea Leader (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988), 215.
37.   “Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry,” May 27, 1963.
38.   “Conversation between Soviet Ambassador in North Korea Vasily Moskovsky and Soviet specialists in North Korea,” September 27, 1963.
39.   Ibid., October 16, 1963.
40.   “Record of a conversation with the Soviet Ambassador, in the DPRK Comrade V.P. Moskovskyi about the negotiations between the Soviet delegation, led by the USSR Council of Ministers Chairman Kosygin, and the governing body of the Korean Workers Party, which took place at the USSR Embassy in the DPRK on February 16, 1965,” Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia.
41.   Hymans argues that the DPRK sought to obtain Nuclear Weapons due to a combination of Security and prestige purposes. Because of this, his argument is, “therefore, they resolved to block its attempt to gain the expertise and equipment necessary for the bomb.” However, while North Korea sought autonomy through Nuclear Weapons acquisition, they certainly sought its Allies’ assistance. See Jacques Hymans, “Assessing North Korean nuclear intentions and capacities: A new approach,” Journal of East Asian Studies 8, no. 2 (2008): 271.
42.   Mazarr, North Korea and the Bomb, 101.
43.   Mark Hibbs, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, believes that because Nuclear Technology is easier to achieve even as an isolated Country such as North Korea, “Nuclear proliferation has to be countered through addressing the complex political factors underlying it.” Export Control is not effective as providing Protection, because the Technology can be obtained through illicit networks. Armin Rosen, “How North Korea Built Its Nuclear Program,” Atlantic, April 10, 2013,
44.   See Asan Institute, “The Fallout: South Korean Public Opinion Following North Korea’s Third Nuclear Test” (issue brief, February 24, 2013),
45.   See Morihiro Hosokawa, “Are U.S. Troops in Japan Needed? Reforming the Alliance,” Foreign Affairs 77, no. 4 (July/August 1998), 5.
46.   The most representative scholarly work is by Cha and Kang.
47.   Kenneth Waltz, “Peace, Stability and Nuclear Weapons,” 11; Matthew Kroenig, Exporting the Bomb: Technology Transfer and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2010).

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