Under what conditions would the democracies in Northeast Asia seek to join the nuclear weapons club? Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are threshold nuclear powers by virtue of their robust civilian nuclear-energy programmes. All three once pursued nuclear weapons and all face nuclear-armed adversaries. Fitzpatrick’s latest book analyses these past nuclear pursuits and current proliferation drivers. It considers how long it would take each to build a nuclear weapon if such a fateful decision were made but does not predict such a scenario. Unlike when each previously went down a nuclear path, democracy and a free press now prevail as barriers to building bombs in the basement. Reliance on US defence commitments is a better security alternative – as long as such guarantees remain credible. But extended deterrence is not a barrier to proliferation of sensitive nuclear technologies. Nuclear hedging by its Northeast Asian partners will challenge Washington’s nuclear diplomacy.
Mark Fitzpatrick is Executive Director, IISS–Americas, and director of the IISS Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme.
'Mark Fitzpatrick is a highly experienced hand in both Asia-Pacific affairs and global nuclear non-proliferation. His balanced and insightful analysis of the interplay between US extended deterrence and nuclear non-proliferation in Northeast Asia, based on extensive research and interviews, makes for a compelling and persuasive read.'
Ambassador Nobuyasu Abe, former UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs and current Commissioner on the Japan Atomic Energy Commission
'Mark is a prominent pundit in shaping global non-proliferation and strategic discourse. His book provides fascinating insights into the real world of nuclear policy options that the three democracies of Northeast Asia face today. And he explains how geopolitics, nuclear hedging and US extended nuclear deterrence likely will play out in relation to one another in the future. Such wisdom can emerge only from a man of Mark’s distinguished career both as practitioner at the State Department and as an eminent strategic thinker in academia. This book is a ‘must read’ for those interested in the unfolding geo-strategic landscape in Northeast Asia.'
Ambassador Chun Yungwoo, former National Security Advisor to Republic of Korea president Lee Myong-bak and current Chairman of the Korean Peninsula Future Forum
'Mark Fitzpatrick has been immersed in East Asian security matters since we were together at the US Embassy in Tokyo in the early 1990s. Since then, he has become a leading global expert on nuclear non-proliferation. His incisive book combines these fields, arguing persuasively why staying non-nuclear and tied to US security remains the best course for Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.'
Walter F. Mondale, former US Vice-President and Ambassador to Japan
'This excellent book explains the balance between nuclear intentions and strategic thinking in the region. Fitzpatrick offers a penetrating analysis of the nuclear histories, security threat perceptions, and strategic responses of the three cases and their close links to America’s regional security posture. His contribution is by far the most comprehensive, enlightening and contemplative among studies of security policy and nuclear issues in Northeast Asia.'
Fu-Kuo Liu, Research Fellow, Institute of International Relations, and Executive Director, Center for Security Studies, National Chengchi University