South Korea's discussion of nuclear options seems to underestimate the importance of a balanced effort that explores non-military opportunities. Exploring nuclear options to counter North Korea's threats would likely mean that South Korea would face more uncertainties rather than gain new strategic opportunities.
First, North Korea developed nuclear weapons not to deter the use of US tactical nuclear weapons, but to strengthen the chances of regime survival and enhance negotiation leverage with South Korea and the US.
North Korea's belief that the US would not allow South Korea to develop nuclear weapons likely influenced its decision that benefits would surpass the costs of developing its own nuclear arms. From this perspective, it is doubtful that South Korean nuclear weapons would help dismantle North Korea's nuclear arsenal.
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