As tensions between the United States and North Korea continue to simmer, questions arise concerning what war with a nuclear-powered North Korea would look like.
Nuclear weapons and missile defense systems have become a point of contention in U.S.-China relations. How will Beijing respond to the perceived growing threat of U.S. nuclear deterrent capabilities?
Increased risk-taking concerning North Korea’s nuclear ambitions could potentially pay off, but there’s a catch.
As North Korea develops an array of missiles that could deliver a nuclear weapon to the continental United States, that further complicates the tension over defending U.S. allies in the region.
While the Trump administration’s nuclear and space policy remains uncertain, drastic readjustments may destabilize China-U.S. relations if China interprets it as a way to contain its rise.
Trump’s engagement in East Asia has further fueled Russian and Chinese perceptions of the U.S. missile defense system as a threat to their nuclear deterrents.
The more realistic option would be increased information sharing between Moscow and Beijing on THAAD and the US military presence in Northeast Asia, as well as joint exercises like the one held in May 2016.
As the North Korean atomic crisis gathers momentum, the Trump administration is suggesting that the option of letting the East Asian allies acquire nuclear options is on the table.
Both the United States and China have to recognize the reality, if not the legitimacy, of each other’s fears about North Korea and make concessions that indicate their good faith in eventually moving toward a Korean Peninsula that is united.
There is no clear, internationally accepted definition of what activities or technologies constitute a nuclear weapons program. This lack of definition encumbers nuclear energy cooperation and complicates peaceful resolution of proliferation disputes.