Title

South Korea's Missile Defense Policy: Dilemma and Opportunity for a Medium State

Department

History & Political Science

Document Type

Article

Publication Source

Asian Politics and Policy

Publication Date

2009-07-01

Volume

1

Issue

3

First Page

371

Last Page

389

Abstract

Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) delivery systems has made missile defense a key security challenge, but missile defense systems are highly controversial. I closely examine the development of the missile defense system in South Korea. South Korea has steadfastly remained outside the theater missile defense (TMD) structure, but it cooperates on missile defense, in a limited way, with its U.S. ally. South Korea's refusal to participate in TMD even as it quietly acquires air defense systems can be explained by political and diplomatic considerations regarding its neighbors (especially China), military and economic considerations about missile defense, and strategic considerations for the United States-South Korea alliance. The TMD situation demonstrates South Korea's dilemma and opportunity as a medium power in a particularly harsh security environment. South Korea is walking a fine line to diversify security relations, to maintain the alliance structure with the United States (albeit in a changed form), and to build a self-reliant military capability. © 2009 Policy Studies Organization.

Keywords

Medium power, North Korea's missile development, ROK-U.S. Alliance, South Korea's missile defense, Theater missile defense (TMD)

DOI

10.1111/j.1943-0787.2009.01131.x

https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1943-0787.2009.01131.x

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