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Defending FrenemiesAlliances, Politics, and Nuclear Nonproliferation in US Foreign Policy$
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Jeffrey W. Taliaferro

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190939304

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190939304.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 June 2021

The United States and South Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program, 1970–1981

The United States and South Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program, 1970–1981

(p.160) 5 The United States and South Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program, 1970–1981
Defending Frenemies

Jeffrey W. Taliaferro

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 examines the proliferation dispute between the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK). The Nixon administration’s efforts to extricate the United States from the Vietnam War, draw down US troops in East and Southeast Asia, and seek a rapprochement with China precipitated this dispute. ROK president Park Chung-hee authorized a secret nuclear weapons program in 1972. The Ford administration used a mix of threats to suspend bilateral nuclear cooperation and promises to stabilize US troop levels to get Park to cancel the purchase of a French reprocessing plant in 1975 and 1976. The dispute erupted anew in 1977, when Carter proposed withdrawing all US troops and tactical nuclear weapons. The crisis was finally resolved in 1981, when the Reagan administration pledged to maintain troop levels in exchange for ROK president Chun Doo-hwan’s redirecting nuclear energy research to civilian purposes.

Keywords:   Nixon Doctrine, Project 890, foreign military assistance, alliances, US-ROK Mutual Security Treaty, US-China normalization, regional power distributions, time horizons

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