The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
2 Points

South Korea should possess nuclear weapons

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/3/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,055 times Debate No: 37308
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




I would like to define this motion and state the status quo in the first round.

First, I would like to define possess as in developing and owning something (in this case, nuclear weapons) for one's own country. Nuclear weapons are powerful weapons that derive their force from nuclear reactions.

As a South Korean, I would like to be talking about this motion in South Korea's perspective.

North and South Korea are technically still in a war, but what"s worse, North Korea has been developing deadly nuclear weapons for decades. And guess what? South Korea has been prevented from developing our own nuclear weapons for 60 years, andI believe that we need to put a stop to this, once and for all. South Korea should be able to take care of their own citizens. And I believe that South Korea needs to solve this issue with the North, starting from today.


I'm happy to accept this debate. I will be arguing against South Korea possessing nuclear weapons.
Debate Round No. 1


First, there is a right to self defense, especially in the situation when South Korea is receiving severe imminent threat. The Korean war has still not ended. Although the last fight had occurred 60 years ago, there was no treaty or declaration confirming the end of the war, which proves that the war had not ended, but instead, we"re still on a break right now. However, recently, they had declared a thermonuclear war. That means a war using nuclear weapons. No country has ever gotten a thermonuclear war threat. they had gotten war threats in the past, of course, but never a thermonuclear war. If this is not a threat, I demand my opponent to exactly clarify, "What really is a threat?" Besides, North Korea has tested their nuclear weapons three times already: their first one in October 2006, the second one on May 2009, and the last one this year, 2013, on February. This proves that even from nearly 7 years ago, North Korea kept on developing and testing their nuclear weapons. Although we, South Korea, has and had the military for a very long time, everyone knows that military is nothing when compared to nuclear weapons. It's kind of like gun versus strength. When you are fighting with someone, and you own a gun, how strong your opponent is doesn"t matter because one shoot can kill him. It"s the same with North and South Korea. South Korea may be strong because of the military. However, because North Korea owns nuclear weapons, it doesn"t matter that we have the military. Not only that, they had cancelled to abide by the Armistice Treaty, which means that North Korea may engage in aggression acts even today! Attacks may happen today. It can be tomorrow. It can be next week. Who knows?

And because North Korea is being an imminent threat to this country, I believe that South Korea definitely should have a right to self defense by developing nuclear weapons.

Another reason why we should practice our right to self defense is because we have the justification to withdraw from the NPT. South Korea has signed a treaty called Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is a treaty that that makes countries promise not to make nuclear weapons. However, the treaty Article 10 specifically says that countries are allowed to withdraw if they have a very urgent reason that severely threatens the utmost interest of the nation. This means that even the international treaty is acknowledging the importance of national sovereignty, thus the right to self-defense!

And as I have already mentioned, North Korea is an imminent threat to South Korea by declaring to wage a thermonuclear war. Has any country around the world received such a threat before? If this is not a legitimate reason to withdraw from NPT, I demand my opponent to think of a scenario that is more urgent than this. We believe that this is justifiable as a reason for South Korea to withdraw from NPT.


Not a Solution
My first contention would be to establish that South Korea having nuclear weapons is not a solution. Since the Korean War came to an armistice in 1953, there have been threats to South Korea and the armistice has been ended 6 times in the past [1]. The probability of an attack is unlikely and unpredictable, and permitting countries to have nuclear missiles is irrational. Two wrongs don't make a right, and in the situation that North Korea does launch an attack, the United States are already prepared as a nuclear umbrella to intercept North Korean attacks [2].

United States Nuclear Umbrella
To add on to the nuclear umbrella, the constant surveillance around the Korean Peninsula by United States proves that North Korea's threats are completely unrealistic. The Pentagon ordered a THADD ballistic missile defense battery to be deployed at Guam. The USS Decantur, USS John S. McCain, and the USS Fitzgerald which are all equipped with missile defense systems have all been deployed in the Western Pacific [3] in retaliation to North Korea's nuclear threats.

Unforeseen Consequences
To break away from the NPT would prove harmful to South Korea in that South Korea would join North Korea as the only countries to withdraw from the NPT. South Korea also wouldn't be able to draw upon the Nuclear Suppliers Group which provides much of the fuel to power nuclear plants. Developing nuclear missiles would end South Korea's goals to become a nuclear exporter which it is clear South Korea has worked so hard on accomplishing. Lastly, it would find itself in violation of it's civilian nuclear agreement with the United States. [4]

It should be clear that adding new nuclear weapons to any country is anything but beneficial and South Korea. Facing potential bilateral or multilateral economic sanctions, voiding of the goal to become a nuclear exporter, and an end to it's civilian nuclear agreement with the United States, it is clear to see why it is unrealistic for South Korea to possess nuclear weapons.

Debate Round No. 2


For the last round of the debate, I would like to state another argument, but before I go on, I would like to rebut to the previous arguments made by my opponent.

First, my opponent seems to be trying to say how creating nuclear weapons will not be a solution for self defense. However, there would be something called a 'nuclear deterrence' that the opposition had perhaps not heard about. Nuclear deterrence is an idea that if two countries have similar or equal amount of power, then both countries will not be willing to attack because they know that they will be destructed as much as they attack.

Not only that, countries around us (South Korea) are already powerful. For example, North Korea owns nuclear weapons. Japan produces 9 tons of plutonium every year. China itself is already a rising star in both political and economic perspectives. WE need a balance of power, and one of the only ways to is to let South Korea own nuclear weapons.

Second, he had said how South Korea is already safe because of the U.S nuclear umbrella. This point will be rebutted through the argument that I would say in this last round

Third, he had stated how there are unforseen consequences. However, I would like the opposition to look at the current status quo. Right now, North Korea is known for its nuclear weapons, its dictatorship, and etc. In other words, North Korea has a negative image to other countries. Not only that, many countries know that North Korea had declared a thermonuclear war to South Korea. So, even if South Korea develops nuclear weapons, it is likely that they will be able to understand that we are doing it for our own self defense.

Now, I would like to continue with the last round of this debate with another argument from the proposition.

There is the need of independency in South Korea. This argument can be divided into two different parts.

First, there isn"t 100% guarantee that the US will always be here for our country. Ladies and gentlemen, every single nation has different interest. They cannot possibly be exactly the same. And because of this, the US may not be in the situation to volunteer all happy and come to rescue South Korean citizens as their top priority. What"s even worse, let"s analyze the financial situation America is in. Currently, the US declared that they will be cutting down 500 billion dollars on their military, because they have a debt of 16.8 trillion dollars which is nearly 78.1% of the United States" GDP.

So, looking at the US"s curret economic system right now, it can be clearly said that the US is incapable of doing their job. Not only that, America doesn"t only support South Korea, but they also provide military service to 25 other countries including the Philippines, Sudan, Nigeria, and etc. This means they already have too much on their plates, and we should NOT be jeopardizing our security in the hands of America.

Just blindly believing in the US for help everytime, just simply waiting for them to come and help us --this is rather a very reliant and dependent attitude, and such attitude should no longer be shown by the South Korean government.

Moving on to my second sub-point, sovereign right is crucial for all nations. The government of this country, South Korea, definitely should have the right to defend itself, and its citizens. If the government of the country cannot even protect its citizens, then what kind of government is that? Are we to continue being the "puppet" of the US for a few more decades in the future? The citizens of this country are the citizens that this government has to protect. It is not the responsibility of the US, nor the responsibility of China, or any other nation. Just waiting for the US to take actions is not something that a democratic, independent nation should do.

Plus, we have a clear purpose for developing the nuclear weapons. Unlike North Korea, we are not developing nuclear weapons for fun or to threaten other countries. Rather, we"re doing it just for self defense. That"s all we ask for, the right to protect our own citizens. Is that too much to ask?

We need to wake up. We had been a puppet for the past 60 years, and we had done nothing, absolutely nothing by ourselves. Wake up! Why do we need to be controlled so much by other countries and be brainwashed like North Korea is brainwashed by their dictator Kim Jong Un?

Thank You.


US Military Expenditure
Your first argument declares that the US may not be there to protect South Korea because we may not have similar interests. To advocate for that idea, you state that America is incapable of 'doing our job' because we have gone through an economic recession. To counter this, it should be known that the United States has spent about 650 billion dollars in 2012 [1]. Second to the United States was China which had spent 150 million that year [2]. I can't find where my opponent got the 500 billion dollar cut on the US military expenditure from (which is why sources are nice), but regardless, the idea that the US would betray the protection of a country threatened by North Korea, the unstable country who has withdrawn from the NPT and has threatened the United States? That's an unrealistic stretch.

Nuclear Umbrella
The fact that the United States is protecting many countries does not change the nuclear umbrella argument. In fact, it seems as if my opponent as completely avoided the fact that the United States has any potential nuclear threat from North Korea nullified along with most of the points made in the unforeseen consequences argument covering with "countries will understand South Korea breaking an agreement to not manufacture weapons of mass destruction to protect themselves from an unrealistic threat." Whether the US was protecting 25 or 250 countries, the fact remains that there is a multitude of American ships armed with missile defense systems, ballistic missile defense batteries, and the USFK on the ground which is plenty of physical and political 'nuclear deterrence [3].'

A Sovereign South Korea
Sovereignty of any country is important, however South Korea has the sovereignty to declare themselves a part of the NPT which they have. It was a decision made by the South Korean government to ratify the NPT and void their ability to develop nuclear weapons along with the majority of other countries to protect the future from the dangers of nuclear weapons. It may not be the responsibility of the US to protect South Korea, but the US would take action against nuclear threats as would most other superpowers.

North Korea could say they developed nuclear missiles for self defense against the United States and North Korea, but that doesn't mean that the world can turn a blind eye to the fact that nuclear missiles should not be manufactured. A country signing into a treaty that prevents nuclear missiles does not prevent said country from defending it's citizens.

I hope it is clear to my opponent and to the audience that the development of nuclear weapons by South Korea is a goal that would do more harm than good for the country per the 'unforeseen consequences' argument and that the United States will not stand by while a country launches nuclear missiles per the 'nuclear umbrella' argument. Thank you Pro for this debate and bringing up a topic that needed to be discussed.

Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by anonymouse 5 years ago
south korea should be disarmed entirely
Posted by wrichcirw 5 years ago

This debate could have been better, although it was a decent debate. PRO's main case dealt with sovereignty and self-determination, whereas CON seemed to put emphasis on the US-ROK alliance and the NPT.

IMHO this is unfortunately not close...CON does not really articulate a clear rebuttal to PRO's point about sovereignty, and does not explain why the US-ROK alliance or the NPT are necessities. Without these explanations, CON doesn't really have a case, IMHO, and so PRO meets burden of proof and wins arguments.

However, PRO could really use some sources. For example, I have no idea why PRO thinks that $16.8 trillion in debt is only 78% of GDP, when GDP itself is under $16 trillion.


Anyway, my own opinion on this matter is that if SK attempted to go nuclear, it would violate the wishes of all of its neighbors and upset the power balance in the region. The entire peninsula would look even more unstable than it currently is, and more than likely the other parties in the 6 party talks would look for a way to curtail SK from pursuing nukes, especially China and Japan.

SK going nuclear exponentially increases the threat level on the peninsula, and may end up provoking an already desperate NK into action with dire consequences.
Posted by wrichcirw 5 years ago
1) CON: "..permitting countries to have nuclear missiles is irrational."

What, so the US is the most irrational country on earth?

2) PRO: "Moving on to my second sub-point, sovereign right is crucial for all nations."

I find this ironic because South Korea isn't even in control of its own military - its entire military structure is subordinate to a UN command, and that UN commander has been a US general ever since the armistice was signed.

3) PRO: "We had been a puppet for the past 60 years, and we had done nothing, absolutely nothing by ourselves. Wake up! Why do we need to be controlled so much by other countries and be brainwashed like North Korea is brainwashed by their dictator Kim Jong Un?"

My own answer to this is because whether or not Korea likes it, it is at the mercy of greater powers, namely the other 4 parties in the Six Party Talks - Russia, Japan, China, and the US.

4) CON: "...the idea that the US would betray the protection of a country threatened by North Korea, the unstable country who has withdrawn from the NPT and has threatened the United States? That's an unrealistic stretch."

Why? This does nothing to refute PRO's point about self-determination.

5) CON: "I hope it is clear to my opponent and to the audience that the development of nuclear weapons by South Korea is a goal that would do more harm than good for the country per the 'unforeseen consequences' argument and that the United States will not stand by while a country launches nuclear missiles per the 'nuclear umbrella' argument."

This statement makes no sense. What is this "harm"? It is not clearly or reasonably articulated in this conclusion. Why would or wouldn't the US stand by South Korea? Why isn't South Korea allowed sovereignty on this issue? CON does not address this point in the entire debate.

(Conclusion next)
Posted by wrichcirw 5 years ago
Hm. Before I begin, the two votes currently from KHL and Jonathan constitute votebombs, IMHO.

This debate looks interesting.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 5 years ago
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