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Allies expressed concern over Washington’s revision of NPR

Allies expressed concern over Washington’s revision of NPR

Posted December. 03, 2021 07:48,   

Updated December. 03, 2021 07:48


It has been confirmed that the South Korean government has communicated its message several times to the U.S. in opposition to the “no first use” and “sole purpose” policies. Washington is currently debating whether to include such nuclear policies in its Nuclear Posture Review for early next year.

According to high-level officials from the government on Thursday, early this year, Washington surveyed its allies including South Korea to sound out their opinions on a potential shift of weapons policy, and the allies shared their stance on the matter and expressed their collective skepticism over the adoption of “no first use” policy several times to the Biden administration. “We have expressed our concerns about the pivoting of nuclear policies by Washington many times through various channels of national defense and diplomacy,” said an official. “Washington is sufficiently aware of the concerns on the part of its allies.”  

So far, the U.S. has stuck to a strategy so called “strategic ambiguity,”, thereby deterring the enemy’s provocation by opting not to clarify its nuclear strategy by intention. By contrast, “no first use” (not using nuclear weapons unless attacked first) or “sole purpose” (the only purpose of nuclear weapons is retaliation for America) are fueling concerns of America’s allies as they can weaken America’s nuclear umbrella and its commitment to deterrence.

Seoul is of the view that the “strategic ambiguity” will remain largely unshaken. But the possibility of changing the policy direction is also in the cards, given that President Biden showed its passion for a new nuclear strategy as part of his election campaign. According to the relevant officials, the atmosphere in Washington is that the “sole purpose” policy could be included in the NPR while there is no big chance for the adoption of “no first use” policy.

Jin-Woo Shin niceshin@donga.com