S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Dept. of International Studies (국제학과) Journal of International and Area Studies Journal of International and Area Studies vol.25 (2018)
The Ballistic Missile Defense Construction Strategies of South Korea and Japan: Self-reliance versus Cooperation with the US
- Park, Hwee Rhak
- Issue Date
- Institute of International Affairs, Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University
- Journal of International and Area Studies, Vol.25 No.2, pp. 87-105
- Ballistic Missile Defense; BMD; national security; inter-Korean relations; Japan-US relations; Korea-US relations
- This paper compares the South Korean Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) to the Japanese one with a focus on the two countries’ cooperation with the United States of America (US). It introduces the basic concept of BMD and challenges that the North Korean nuclear missile threat presents to the BMDs of South Korea and Japan. In addition, it examines the backgrounds and capabilities of the two countries’ BMDs and outlines some differences from the examination.
The comparison between South Korea’s and Japan’s BMD shows that the level of Japan’s BMD was higher than South Korea’s. The main reason for the gap lies in the level of cooperation with the United States. Japan began its BMD by closely cooperating with the United States; however, South Korea intentionally refrained from cooperation with the United States. Thus, the South Korean BMD went through several rounds of trial and error without being advised by the United States, the world’s BMD leader. If South Korea had cooperated closely with the United States, it would not have experienced controversies over the deployment of Terminal High Altitude Defense (THAAD) and could have constructed a more reliable BMD. South Korea should seek close cooperation with the US, if it wants to defend its people from a possible North Korean nuclear missile attack.
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