[Pt. III] Preemptive Nuclear Attacks on the Korean Peninsula: Fact or Fiction?
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[Pt. III] Preemptive Nuclear Attacks on the Korean Peninsula: Fact or Fiction?

About Dr. Siegfried Hecker

Siegfried S. Hecker is a professor emeritus (research) in the Department of Management Science and Engineering and a senior fellow emeritus at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), as well as the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University. He was co-director of CISAC from 2007-2012 and served as the fifth director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1986-1997. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in metallurgy from Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Hecker’s current professional interests include nuclear weapons policy, plutonium research, global nuclear risk reduction with Russia, China, Pakistan, India, North Korea, and Iran, the safety and security implications of the global expansion of nuclear energy, and the threats of nuclear terrorism.

The first joint APLN/EAF Webinar, funded in part by the Asia Research Fund, titled “Preemptive Nuclear Attacks on the Korean Peninsula: Fact or Fiction?” was live-streamed on October 7th from 9:30-11:00 A.M. KST.

Moderated by Dr. Chung-in Moon, the webinar featured Dr. Morton H. Halperin (Senior Advisor to the Open Society Foundation and the Open Society Policy Center), Dr. Peter Hayes (Co-director at the Nautilus Institute), Dr. Siegfried Hecker (Professor and Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Center for International Security and Cooperation), and Dr. Eunjung Lim (Associate Professor at Kongju National University).

The panelists discussed military and nuclear issues on the Korean peninsula, with special attention paid to claims made in Bob Woodward’s latest book, Rage. The panel outlined the history of the U.S.’s nuclear doctrine and the DPRK’s nuclear capabilities, ultimately concluding that discussion of the use of “eighty nuclear weapons” on the Korean peninsula as the worst case scenario, albeit highly unlikely.

Finally, they warned of the risks of misunderstanding and mistakes that could escalate into a nuclear exchange. To prevent such a catastrophe, the panelists agreed that diplomacy needs to embrace a step-by-step confidence-building process, to make nuclear threats less necessary for deterrence or compellence on both sides.

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