North Korea’s development of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines would enhance its nuclear deterrent capability, making preemptive strikes against the country risky. South Korea has also declared its intention to develop nuclear-powered submarines to enhance its anti-submarine capability. While it is questionable whether either plan will materialize, as both countries face their own obstacles, the race for nuclear-powered submarines could heighten the insecurity on the Korean Peninsula. This essay will examine each country’s plans and assess the implications for regional security. North Korea The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), or North Korea, is advancing its capacity to launch ballistic missiles… Read More »A Race for Nuclear-Powered Submarines on the Korean Peninsula?
North and South Korean defense leaders set lofty goals for reducing tension in multiple arenas via the 2018 Agreement on the Implementation of the Historic Panmunjom Declaration in the Military Domain (also known as the Comprehensive Military Agreement, or CMA). The agreement included some specific steps in the maritime domain. Article 3 reaffirms general-level talks that took place in 2004 on the “prevention of accidental naval clashes in the West Sea,” which focused on control of naval and civilian vessels, the sharing of information to mitigate conflict at sea, and the elimination of propaganda activities along the Military Demarcation Line… Read More »The Politics of Implementing the Korean Comprehensive Military Agreement in the Maritime Domain
The East China Sea has been described by some experts as a potential “flashpoint” of interstate conflict and great-power rivalry and a source of regional destabilization. Much attention has focused on military activities in this maritime theater, primarily involving Japan, China, and South Korea. In contrast, this essay focuses on the complex maritime and sovereignty claims of Northeast Asian states in the East China Sea and unpacks the differing legal principles they use to support their claims in order to understand the enduring nature of the conflicts. These disputes are challenging precisely because they involve contests over both territorial sovereignty… Read More »Maritime and Sovereignty Disputes in the East China Sea
The Indo-Pacific region is facing a host of daunting maritime challenges, including increasingly frequent and extreme weather events due to climate change, ocean pollution, pressure on fishing stocks, and threats to maritime commerce, among many others. The Republic of Korea (ROK) has an important stake in mitigating these concerns. Yet, none of these problems can be solved by any single government; instead, they require cooperation among like-minded states to achieve solutions. One way in which South Korea can contribute is through participation with the Quad coalition of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, possibly through creation of a maritime… Read More »South Korea, the Quad, and Maritime Security