The Counterforce Dilemma in East Asia
Weekly Newsletters

The Counterforce Dilemma in East Asia



11 February 2022




Dear Network Members and Colleagues,

This week APLN board member, Tuya Nyamosor, assesses the achievements and limitations of nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZs). We revisit previous APLN analysis on NWFZs, and Ian Bowers discusses the counterforce dilemmas and risk of nuclear war in East Asia.








In a new special report, former Foreign Minister of Mongolia and APLN board member, Tuya Nyamosor, argues that nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZs) are a powerful mechanism in the global effort toward nuclear disarmament. She sets out how NWFZs have emerged, compares their regulatory provisions, and gauges the near-term applicability of an NWFZ in Northeast Asia.



Read the Report (PDF)

This special report is a part of an APLN project on Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Experts and members assess key features of WMD infrastructure, force structures, capabilities, envisioned uses, and solutions.









Ian Bowers, Associate Professor at the Royal Danish Defence College, assesses the potential for nuclear war in East Asia by analysing geostrategic, operational, and technological factors.

He argues that the most dangerous threat to strategic stability is a counterforce dilemma where the US, China, and regional East Asian countries’ conventional capabilities may create strategic instability through their interaction with adversaries’ nuclear weapons.

However, the maritime nature of the geostrategic environment coupled with the lack of existential threat that the United States and China pose to the other offers fewer natural pathways to nuclear weapons use for either country than during Cold War.



Read the Report (PDF)

This report is a part of a three year joint research project on modelling nuclear weapons use and Reducing the Risk of Nuclear Weapon Use in Northeast Asia (NU-NEA) with the Nautilus Institute and the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (RECNA).





APLN has featured a range of analyses on nuclear-weapon-free zones and their relevance to the Asia-Pacific. Highlights include:



The need for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Northeast Asia

8 Jul 2021 | Enkhsaikhan Jargalsaikhan

Jeju Forum 2020: Achieving a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in Northeast Asia

25 Nov 2020 | APLN

An Alternative to Nuclear Deadlock and Stalled Diplomacy: Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone
16 Oct 2020 | Michael Hamel-Green
How a Regional Nuclear-Free-Weapon Zone Can Benefit Japan

28 Jun 2017 | APLN

The Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone: A US Perspective on the Treaty and Its Future

23 Feb 2017 | Christine Parthemore



National security policy should be based on one thing: Facts
On 7 February, APLN vice-chair Chung-in Moon published a column in Hankyoreh where he commented on the foreign policy platform of the conservative candidate in the upcoming ROK presidential election. Read more




Three Years Since Op Bandar – Lessons from Employment of Air Power
On 2 February, APLN Member Manpreet Sethi published an analysis at the Centre for Air Power Studies, where she assessed the consequences of Indian use of air strikes in Balakot in 2019. Read more





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