Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races
Weekly Newsletters

Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races


7 January 2022

Dear Network Members and Colleagues,

Greetings for the New Year from Seoul!

We kick off the new year with a response from APLN Chair and former Indonesian foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa, to the nuclear weapon states’ statement on “preventing nuclear war and avoiding arms races”. We present two new special reports, one assessing the DPRK’s asymmetric WMD capabilities, and the other exploring hypothetical scenarios for US nuclear use on the Korean Peninsula. We also feature a new commentary on the NPT by APLN’s Executive Director, and member activities.

This week Marty Natalegawa welcomed the joint statement by the leaders of the five nuclear weapon states on preventing nuclear war and avoiding arms races. The statement reaffirms the principle that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” which APLN has been calling for along with the Nuclear Threat Initiative, European Leadership Network, and the Elders.

Read the full Statement

In a new special report, Daryl Press, Professor at Darthmouth College, analyses hypothetical scenarios that could lead to the United States deciding to use nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula.

The author argues that there are both military and geopolitical rationales for the United States to employ nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, although the likelihood of it happening is low.

The report allows allies and other partners to identify and resolve disagreements about nuclear employment and sheds light on the logic driving important decisions about US nuclear force structure and modernization.

Read Now (PDF)

This report is a part of a joint project on Reducing the Risk of Nuclear Weapon Use in Northeast Asia (NU-NEA) with the Nautilus Institute, the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (RECNA), and the Panel on Peace and Security of North East Asia (PSNA).

As part of APLN’s WMD project, Sang Hyun Lee, APLN member and President of the Sejong Institute, assesses the evolution and state of play of DPRK’s current asymmetric capabilities and highlights major developments within its nuclear, cyber, missile, chemical, and biological capabilities.

The special report includes the following recommendations:

  • A new strategy should be developed to impose costs and regrets on the DPRK for missed opportunities for dialogue and to prepare the way for further talks aimed at least at slowing if not reversing its WMD developments.
  • The ROK must collaborate and share intelligence with other countries who have experienced DPRK’s cyber-attacks.
  • The ROK should strengthen its efforts to induce the DPRK into becoming a normal state in Northeast Asia via a long-term peace process on the Korean Peninsula.
  • The US nuclear umbrella needs to be modified to signal collective resolve against DPRK’s nuclear bullying.

Read Now (PDF)

This report is part of APLN’s project assessing current WMD threats in the Asia-Pacific. You can read other special reports in this series on our website.

Walking away from NPT:
Be careful what you wish for

This week’s latest APLN-Korea Times column features a commentary by APLN Executive Director, Shatabhisha Shetty addressing the recent calls for States to withdraw from the NPT. She assesses the consequences of such steps and makes the case for why the first meeting of States Parties to the TPNW could help the NPT Review Conference.

Read Now

South Korea forges ahead with end of war declaration despite US reservations
On 5 January, APLN Vice-Chair Professor Chung-in Moon and APLN Senior Associate Fellow Jessica Lee were quoted in the Financial Times where they commented on the ROK government’s ongoing efforts towards a declaration to end the Korean War. Read more (paywall)

Towards a Korean strategy of resilience
On 3 January, APLN Vice-Chair Professor Chung-in Moon published a column in Hankyoreh where he discussed the security challenges that South Korea faces in 2022. Read more

What lessons does Ukraine offer South Asia?
On 4 January, APLN Member Professor C. Raja Mohan published an opinion column in The Indian Express where he argued that India could apply lessons from the relationship between Russia and Ukraine to its relationships with neighbouring countries. Read more (paywall)

Will More States Acquire Nuclear Weapons?
On 14 December, APLN Executive Director Shatabhisha Shetty was featured in Foreign Affairs where she shared her opinion on the likelihood that the number of states with nuclear weapons will increase in the next decade. Read more





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