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South Korea

South Korea WMD Stats

Overview:

South Korea has maintained a bilateral security alliance with the United States since the Korean War (1950-1953). Nevertheless, South Korea has an active ballistic missile program and acknowledges the possession of chemical weapons (CW). Seoul abandoned its nuclear weapons program in the 1970s but has the technical capacity to produce nuclear, as well as biological, weapons. South Korea is a signatory to several nonproliferation treaties and has adopted a policy of a "nuclear-free Korean peninsula."

Definitions

  • Biological: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of biological weapons of mass destruction
  • Chemical: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of chemical weapons of mass destruction
  • Missile: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of missile weapons of mass destruction
  • Nuclear: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of nuclear weapons
STAT AMOUNT DATE RANK
Biological While South Korea possesses a well-developed pharmaceutical and biotech infrastructure, there is no evidence that Seoul has an offensive biological weapon (BW) program. Citing a biological threat from North Korea, South Korea conducts defensive BW research and development, including the development of vaccines against anthrax and smallpox. South Korea ratified the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) in June 1987 and joined the Australia Group in October 1995. 1995
Chemical After ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in April 1997, South Korea acknowledged possessing chemical weapons (CW) and one CW production facility. Although few details are publicly known, South Korea may store several hundreds of tons of CW munitions, including nerve agents. Pursuant to its CWC obligations, the South Korean military currently is devising methods to destroy CW munitions at a disposal site in Yongdong-kun, North Ch’ungch’ong Province. 1997
Missile In December 1971, South Korean President Park Chung Hee issued a directive to reverse-engineer the US Nike Hercules air defense missile, a system that can also be used in a surface-to-surface role. Following several failures, South Korea's first successful test of its own version, known as "Paekkom," was conducted in September 1978. In 1979, South Korea entered into a bilateral agreement with the United States that limited South Korean ballistic missiles to a range of 180km with a 500kg payload. The Paekkom program was slashed in December 1982, but was restored in late 1983; an improved version of the Paekkom, called the "Hyonmu," was subsequently developed. South Korea joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in March 2001; membership in the organization supersedes the missile-range agreement concluded earlier with Washington. In January 2002, South Korea announced procurement of the 300km-range Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) from the United States; South Korea will buy 110 ATACMS by 2004. Seoul is also developing a space launch vehicle with a plan to place a small satellite into low-earth orbit in 2005. 2005
Nuclear South Korea first became interested in nuclear technology in the 1950s but did not begin construction of its first power reactor until 1970. Changes in the international security environment influenced South Korea's decision to begin a nuclear weapons program in the early 1970s. Under significant pressure from the United States, Seoul abandoned the program and signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in April 1975 before producing any fissile material. In November 1991, President Roh Tae Woo declared that South Korea would not "manufacture, possess, store, deploy, or use nuclear weapons." Two months later, North and South Korea signed the Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of The Korean Peninsula. However, both sides have failed to implement its provision for a bilateral inspection regime. South Korea is an executive board member of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) and is providing most of the financial support for the construction of two light water nuclear reactors in North Korea under the Agreed Framework. Seoul has 18 nuclear power reactors in use and two more under construction. 1991

Citation

"South Korea WMD Stats", NationMaster. Retrieved from http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/South-Korea/Military/WMD