South Korea Can Play a Vital Role in the Indo-Pacific

Taiwan may be Asia’s upcoming hotspot, but the threats South Korea faces are no less dangerous. North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs continue to advance amid rumors of another nuclear test that would be North Korea’s seventh. Of particular significance to South Korea’s emerging strategy in response is the growing recognition that threats across the Indo-Pacific are not isolated and independent of one another, but ultimately emanate from one actor: China.

In Seoul, speculation about the next nuclear explosion in Pyongyang is focused on the days just before the American elections. 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, expected to anchor Xi Jinping as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, begins October 16. Kim Jong Un will not risk spoiling the Chinese Congress during its session, but the following weeks will provide a dramatic opportunity to showcase its nuclear capabilities. Mr. Kim’s recent announcement of his first-strike nuclear policy, along with blunt warnings that he will not negotiate away the nuclear program, publicly codifies North Korea’s longstanding nuclear doctrine. South Korea Can Play a Vital Role in the Indo-Pacific

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