Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 3-25-2024


Czapla, E. 2024. Implications and Recommendations for U.S. Security Alliances: South Korea's Anticipated Nuclear Proliferation. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska - Lincoln.


Copyright Ethan Czapla 2024.


In 2023, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol suggested South Korea should consider pursuing a sovereign nuclear weapon arsenal, a striking departure from the history of South Korea’s non-proliferation posture. The pursuit of a nuclear capability or redeployment of nuclear weapons has gained traction among the South Korean public, as over 70% supported acquiring a sovereign nuclear capability in 2021. In this paper, I argue nuclear proliferation in South Korea would (1) destabilize regional security, (2) diminish U.S. security alliances, and (3) undermine the international rules-based order regarding non-proliferation and offer policy recommendations for U.S. defense practitioners in order to boost credibility and assure ROK of our extended deterrence.