AUKUS deep-dive and nuclear dominoes
Weekly Newsletters

AUKUS deep-dive and nuclear dominoes






8 October 2021




Dear Network Members and Colleagues,

In this week’s newsletter, we focus on the dangers of nuclear proliferation in the Asia-Pacific by featuring two new APLN special reports that analyse the risks of the AUKUS deal, and the risks of South Korea and Japan acquiring nuclear weapons. We also share the assessments of three experts on North Korea’s alleged launch of a hypersonic glide vehicle in our latest Pulse series, and recent member activities.





A Deeper Dive into AUKUS: Risks and Benefits for the Asia-Pacific




As a part of an ongoing project that analyzes the implications of AUKUS, APLN this week published a special report on the AUKUS deal by APLN Senior Research Adviser Dr. Tanya Ogilvie-White and Rear Admiral John Gower (ret.) former Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Nuclear & Chemical, Biological) in the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).
In the report, the authors identify several risks related to AUKUS, including erosion of rules, arms racing and submarine proliferation, escalation dangers of cruise missiles, and exacerbation of power political dynamics in the region. They provide seven key recommendations to reduce these risks:
  • Increasing international awareness of Australia’s existing non-proliferation-oriented legislation.
  • An early decision to use lifetime reactor cores.
  • Immediate initiation of work with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  • A US commitment to champion a voluntary moratorium on the deployment of new nuclear cruise missile capabilities.
  • Steps to repair and recommit to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
  • Reinvigorating regional diplomacy.
  • A strong joint statement on upholding the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Rear Admiral Gower (ret.) also appeared on the podcast Back Story with Dana Lewis to discuss the report.



Read the Special Report here



Is Nuclear Domino in Northeast Asia Real and Inevitable?




Last week, APLN published a new special report by APLN Vice-Chair Professor Chung-in Moon. The report is the latest in a series examining WMD threats in the Asia-Pacific and analyses the prospects of the Republic of Korea and Japan seeking independent nuclear forces.

In the report, Professor Moon traces the growing nuclear and missile capabilities of the DPRK, and how these developments have shaped political and public debates on nuclear weapons in the ROK and Japan.

Key recommendations include:
  • Mitigating the overall security environment in Northeast Asia is critical for preventing a nuclear domino in this region.
  • Improvement of Japan-ROK relations can prevent a nuclear domino.
  • The US can play a more constructive role in reshaping the nuclear equation in the region by signalling and assuring adequate extended deterrence and slow down the strategic arms race in the region.
  • Transnational coalitions between hardliners on nuclear weapons development in the DPRK, South Korea, and Japan should be rejected.
  • Civil society and NGOs in Japan and South Korea should cultivate solidarity and work toward anti-nuke movements.
  • National and international efforts to educate citizens on the danger of nuclear weapons by disseminating timely and objective information is important.



Read the Special Report here



On 29 September, North Korea claimed to have conducted a test of a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) atop its Hwasong-8 missile, the first such test to come out of the DPRK. APLN Senior Associate Fellow Jessica Lee, APLN board member Masakatsu Ota, and Jeongmin Kim, Seoul correspondent for NKNews, analyze this development.



Read The Pulse here

North Korea’s missile tests fuel nuclear weapons talk among Seoul, Tokyo conservatives

On 1 October 2021, the APLN special report titled “Is Nuclear Domino in Northeast Asia Real and Inevitable?” by APLN Vice Chair Dr Chung-in Moon was featured in the South China Morning Post. Read more




U.S. expert suggests elimination of N.K. chemical weapons as confidence-building step for nuke disarmament

On 15 September 2021, Yonhap News quoted comments made by Dr Siegfried Hecker at the Cooperative Threat Reduction Plus workshop which was hosted by the APLN. Read more








US nuclear weapons launch authority under fire
On 27 September, APLN Board Member Angela Woodward, published an article at the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs where she commented on the dangers inherent to the US nuclear weapons launch procedure and argued that the only permanent solution is nuclear disarmament. Read more




Four Geopolitical Developments and a Window of Opportunity for India
On 29 September APLN Member Shyam Saran, published an article in The Indian Express, linking together four different developments in the Asia-Pacific region and arguing how India might take advantage of them. Read more




North Korea’s Missile Missives: Is President Biden Listening?
On 29 September, APLN Board Member Dr. Manpreet Sethi, published an article at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, arguing that the US must calibrate its response to deal with the reality of a nuclear North Korea. Read more



















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