The Congressional Research Service (CRS), which provides information for the United States Congress to make policy decisions, said that North Korea can be removed from the U.S. nuclear target list only if it gives up nuclear programs.
“Nations that did not yet have nuclear weapons would know that they could be added to the U.S. nuclear target list if they acquired them,” said the CRS in a report entitled “Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons” released on Monday. “And others, like Iran and North Korea, who were already pursuing nuclear weapons, would know that, if they disbanded their programs, they could be removed from the U.S. nuclear target list.”
The report also pointed out that allies were not confident in the reliability and credibility of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, they may feel compelled to acquire their own nuclear weapons.
“Such calculations might be evident in Japan and South Korea, as they face threats or intimidation from nuclear-armed neighbors like China and North Korea,” the report added. “In recent years, some politicians in South Korea have called for the return of U.S. nonstrategic nuclear weapons to the peninsula, or even South Korea’s development of its own nuclear capability, as a response to North Korea’s development and testing of nuclear weapons.”