THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PUBLIC OPINION AND SOUTH KOREA’S NUCLEAR DETERRENCE ENHANCEMENT POLICY
Weiner, Robert J.
Huntley, Wade L.
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Many people are in favor of South Korea enhancing nuclear deterrence options (the redeployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons or its indigenous nuclear weapons). Since North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006, a majority of those surveyed in opinion polls have favored enhancing nuclear deterrence. The results of these polls have attracted the attention of domestic and foreign media as well as those in politics and academia. However, questions remain, such as what this public opinion means both implicitly and explicitly, and what factors have prevented public opinion from influencing the government’s policy-making decisions. This thesis focuses on domestic political factors rather than international factors, such as the feasibility and effectiveness of nuclear deterrence options. This thesis argues that public opinion in favor of enhancing nuclear deterrence options did not influence the government’s policy formation due to 1) characteristics for the public opinion in favor of enacting a new policy, and 2) the existence of alternative policies to the enhancing nuclear deterrence options.
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