The concept “Korean Precedent” refers to the process of North Korea’s nuclear armament in defiance of international norms and despite the international community’s efforts to prevent it. This process threatens South Korea, a close American ally, and has the potential to serve as an example used by other countries, such as Iran, to justify their own efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.
The process of North Korea’s nuclear armament began in the mid-1980s. Although North Korea joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) (12/85), it soon violated NPT procedures on a regular basis until ultimately withdrawing (1/03). Despite the international community’s attempts to prevent North Korea’s armament through diplomatic and economic means as well as US declarations of possible military action, North Korea eventually successfully tested a nuclear device (10/06). This act drew international condemnation but no tangible response.