Analysis & Opinions - War on the Rocks

South Korea, Conventional Capabilities, and the Future of the Korean Peninsula

  • Ian Bowers
  • Henrik Stålhane Hiim
| Feb. 11, 2021

In August 2020, South Korea’s defense minister revealed that his country had “succeeded in developing a ballistic missile with sufficient range and the world’s largest warhead weight to protect peace on the Korean Peninsula.” The new “Frankenmissile” is part of Seoul’s conventional counterforce and countervalue strategy, which is meant to hold North Korea’s nuclear weapons infrastructure, as well as its leadership, at risk independently from the United States.

This strategy is often overlooked by policymakers and analysts, who are more focused on discussing Kim Jong Un’s pledges to develop new missile and nuclear capabilities and how the new administration of President Joe Biden should approach the nuclear issue. However, as we highlight in a new article in International Security, South Korea’s strategy increasingly has a determining impact on strategic stability on the Korean Peninsula and on prospects for denuclearization.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:

Ian Bowers and Henrik Hiim, "South Korea, Conventional Capabilities, and the Future of the Korean Peninsula," War on the Rocks, February 11, 2021.

The Authors