Secret South Korean Nuclear Weapons Program Created Anxiety in Washington in Mid-1970s

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President Park Chung-hee reportedly instructed South Korean scientists to build nuclear bombs by 1977, according to a secret report to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.  The Ford administration accumulated other evidence that raised worries about proliferation and regional instability.

Today’s posting, the first of two on U.S. policy toward South Korea’s atomic weapons program in the mid-1970s, is based on a wide variety of declassified sources, including records released through mandatory declassification review.  They offer an account of the first stages of what became a successful U.S. effort to keep an ally from engaging in destabilizing proliferation activity in one of the world’s enduring trouble spots.





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