Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States
Appendix III: Unclassified Working Papers
System Planning Corporation: "Non-Proliferation Issues"
Under the terms of a 1979 Memorandum of Understanding signed between the
United States and South Korea, the ROK is prohibited from developing
ballistic missiles with ranges greater than 180 km. During the past several
years, however, South Korea has attempted to alter the terms of this
agreement by seeking membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime.
It appears that the ROK wants regime membership for two reasons: On the one
hand, the ROK wants to obtain some level of technical independence from the
United States on the missile issue so that it can build missiles to strike
targets throughout North Korea. On the other hand, MTCR membership will
give South Korea access to missile and rocket technology of other regime
members, thus allowing the ROK to make advances in its aerospace and space
launch programs. These are areas that both the ROK government and private
industry have targeted for significant growth and advancement in the coming
While the ROK is currently prohibited from building missiles with a range
greater than 180 km, there appears to be a general consensus in
unclassified literature that South Korea is developing missiles that
violate these parameters. The literature suggests that the South Koreans
have modified a version of the American-supplied Nike Hercules, the
NHK-1/-2, to fly to ranges up to 250 km. The ROK is also developing a
successor to the NHK-2, the NHK-A, that, according to preliminary
estimates, may be able to reach ranges of 320 km. In addition, the ROK
recently test launched its first independently developed space launch
vehicle, the KSR. While there is virtually no information about the KSR in
the unclassified literature, one source stated that the KSR could be
modified into a ballistic missile with a 900 km range.
Based on recent statements by the South Korean government and industry
officials, South Korea plans to become a leader in Asia's aerospace
industry by developing state of the art space launch vehicles and
satellites. If these plans ever come to fruition, South Korean aerospace
technology may become available to international markets, thus
necessitating effective and responsible export control systems.
One scholar has argued that South Korea has been exemplary in controlling
the spread of ROK missile technology because of South Korea's close
military ties with the United States. Despite the ROK's past behavior,
however, it may be difficult to assess the future direction of South
Korea's export control practices for missile technology in the post-cold
There appears to be strong disagreement in unclassified literature about
the effectiveness of South Korea's export control system. One author
implies that the ROK's export control system is comparable in practice to
the nations of the post-COCOM/Wassenaar Arrangement, and is thus deserving
of special licensing benefits. Another author, however, writes that South
Korea's export control system is ineffective and in need of reform. Due to
the disparate nature of the unclassified body of literature on South
Korea's export controls, it is difficult to assess the future direction of
the ROK's controls over missile technology, and the probability of it
supplying such technology to nations with hostile intentions towards the
Prior Assessments of South Korea's Ballistic Missile Capabilities and
Export Control System
Prior Assessments of ROK Ballistic Missile Capabilities
There is a limited body of literature on the ROK's ballistic missile
capabilities. The largest and most comprehensive source on this issue is a
paper written by Peter Hayes in March 1993 for the Monterey Institute's
Center for Nonproliferation Studies entitled, "International Missile Trade
and the Two Koreas." This work provides a detailed analysis of both North
and South Korea's ballistic missile programs, and offers a description of
North Korea's missile export practices. Hayes constructed this project from
a variety of secondary sources that included Asian newspapers, academic
articles and both U.S. and South Korean government reports.
In addition to Hayes' report, there have been numerous press clippings in
South Korean newspapers and in Jane's Publications on the developments in
South Korea's ballistic missile programs. Both of these sources have based
their analysis on information provided by the ROK government on South
Korea's ballistic missile programs.
Assessment Criteria for Export Controls
There is an extremely limited body of literature on South Korea's export
control system. Despite an extensive database search, there appears to be
little information to draw on except for two academic works: Han S. Park's,
"South Korea's Export Control Policy," in International Cooperation on
Nonproliferation Export Controls: Prospects for the 1990s and Beyond,
edited by Gary K. Bertsch, Richard Cupitt and Steven Elliot-Gower, and
Richard Cupitt's, "Nonproliferation Export Controls in East Asia," which
devotes a section to South Korea's export control system. Both of these
studies examine the structure of South Korea's export control system,
including, the system's statutory and legal requirements, the institutions
responsible for implementing and overseeing government controls, and the
government's efforts in working with private industry to improve internal
Cupitt's work, which was published in the 1997 Summer/Fall issue of The
Journal of East Asian Affairs, provides a detailed description of the
export licensing process in South Korea, and examines the role of the
Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) in the ROK's export control
system. Cupitt came to his conclusions after personally interacting with
leading government and industry officials. In addition to conducting
interviews and discussions with these figures, he supplemented his research
by consulting numerous government documents, and by constructing a
statistical questionnaire for government and industry officials.
Cupitt's study fails to document any flaws in South Korea's export control
system, and in general, implies that the ROK's export controls work both
effectively and efficiently. Cupitt's conclusions, however, stand in strong
contrast to Park's assessments. Park's study, which was published in 1994,
takes a critical look at South Korea's export control system and ultimately
concludes that the current system is ineffective and in need of drastic
reform. After examining a wide range of secondary sources that included
Government Directives and national trade figures, Park contends that
deteriorating trade relations with the United States, combined with the
fall of Communist systems in Asia and Eastern Europe, has opened up new
markets for South Korean corporations and their products. Park asserts that
the Korean government is not only unable to control the export of dual-use
goods to these emerging markets, but often turns a blind eye so that Korean
companies may circumvent the export control process.
South Korea's Defense Industry: Domestic Structure, Cooperation with U.S.
and Arms Exports
The ROK government has supported the creation of an indigenous South Korean
defense industry since the early 1970s. Three government decrees put
Seoul's policy into motion: A 1973 Law on the Defense Industry, a 1974
Force Improvement Plan for the buildup of ROK armed forces, and a 1975
Defense Tax Law that was designed to finance the development of the defense
industry. This support of the defense industry was also largely based on
the Government's general policy during the 1970s of nurturing investment in
the shipbuilding, steel, and the electronics industries. The growth of
these sectors helped established links to defense production as the
production of armaments became interwoven into the manufacture of ships and
Today, South Korea possesses one of the largest domestic defense industries
in the world, spending more than $14 billion per year on defense-related
activities. 1 A handful of large corporations in the ROK manufacture the
majority of South Korea's weapons systems. These companies will almost
certainly continue to lead in both the research and development, and
production of new systems. Many of the smaller companies in the South
Korean defense industry will continue their role as subcontractors to these
chaebols. The following table outlines specific companies that produce
missile-related components and technologies 2 :
Doo Woo Industries Missile Bodies
Sam Sun Industrials Kooryong Rocket Tubes
Daewoo Heavy Industries Aircraft Fuselage and Parts
Tong Myung Heavy IndustriesLauncher Hydraulic Systems
Chun Ji Industrials Missile Components
Hankuk Fiberglass Co. Major Missile Products
Samsung Aerospace Rocket Propulsion Systems
South Korea's technological capabilities for defense do not match the
standards of those in Japan, Western Europe and the United States. In
recent years, however, South Korea's defense technology capabilities have
advanced significantly. Most of South Korea's chaebols have created new
civilian research centers since the mid-1980s. Over the past few years,
civilian-related research has been applied to weapons development. Chaebols
have given much more attention to military-related research as the
profitability of the defense industry in the ROK has increased.
It appears that the ROK has attempted to develop some degree of
self-sufficiency in developing military-related technology in the 1990s,
especially, in reducing its dependence on U.S. military parts and
components. Korean defense officials have stated that the ROK needs to be
able to maintain its military equipment without U.S. support, and that
South Korea should scale back its collaborative efforts with the United
States on the development of specific weapons platforms. 3
From the mid 1970s to the mid 1980s, South Korea exported several hundred
million dollars of military equipment annually. The majority of this
equipment was Korean-designed without U.S. involvement. During this time
frame, Korea's largest markets were the Middle East, Latin America, and
Southeast Asia. South Korean firms were able to gain market share through
competitive pricing that resulted from lower labor costs.
In recent years, however, South Korea's arms exports have dropped sharply.
According to the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency's World Military
Expenditures and Arms Transfers 1996, the ROK exported only $60 million
worth of military equipment in 1996. 4
East Asia's recent financial crisis, however, may affect South Korea's
armaments exports. There is considerable speculation in both the ROK and
the United States that South Korea's recent financial meltdown may affect
the ROK's defense procurement plans in the coming years. South Korea may no
longer have the financial resources to devote to weapons production. If
this is the case, South Korea's defense conglomerates may begin to look to
the international arena as a market for its products.
South Korea's Ballistic Missile Capabilities
According to the unclassified body of literature, South Korea does not yet
possess the capability to indigenously produce state-of-the-art ballistic
missiles, or space launch rockets that can be converted into
Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. It appears that South Korea's past
reliance on U.S. military assistance, and the Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU) signed between the U.S. and ROK in 1979, has retarded South Korea's
capability to produce aerodynamic and ballistic missiles without outside
assistance. The ROK's capacity to produce missile components was largely
derived from its ability to modify missiles supplied by the United States.
In recent years, however, South Korea has stepped up its efforts to
indigenously produce missiles. There is evidence suggesting that the ROK
has independently developed several versions of the Nike Hercules missile
from U.S. designs. Furthermore, there is also considerable speculation that
South Korea is developing a series of rockets, like the KSR, which will be
used as a space launch vehicle, or can be converted into a Intermediate
Range Ballistic Missile.
Based on recent statements by South Korean Government and Industry
officials, the ROK has ambitious aerospace and space plans. In November
1996, Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Pak Chae-yun revealed a blueprint
for South Korea's space industry that would make the ROK a hub of industry
in East Asia by 2015. 5 If these plans come into being, South Korea will
almost certainly become capable of producing booster rockets, and thus,
ICBMs. There is no evidence in the literature suggesting, however, that the
ROK has any plans for the latter. A brief discussion of South Korea's
ballistic and aerodynamic missile capabilities follows:
Nike-Hercules Variant (NHK-1/-2/-A)
South Korea has designed several different surface-to-surface versions of
the Nike Hercules surface-to-air missile. The ROK military received its
first Nike Hercules from the United States in 1960. During the 1970s, the
ROK's Agency for Defense Development began to modify the missile in an
attempt to increase range, improve accuracy, and transform the missile to
strike ground targets. By 1975, the Agency had developed a version of the
missile, the NHK-1, that could reach a range of 150 km.
In 1978, the ROK test fired the NHK-1's successor, the NHK-2. This missile
reportedly possessed improved electronics and warhead munitions, and could
strike targets up to 250 km away depending upon the weight of the payload.
During the late 1980s, the United States expressed concern that the NHK-2's
technical capabilities violated the parameters of the 1979 MoU between the
United States and South Korea. This led to a 1990 inspection by the United
States of the missiles. Although U.S. inspectors confirmed the missile's
180 km range to be in compliance with the bilateral agreement, they also
concluded that the NHK-2 could be modified to hit targets 250 km away. 6 It
appears, however, that the United States knew many years prior to the
inspections that the NHK-2's range could be increased significantly by
vertically stacking three identical stages or by clustering smaller stages
Several authors have implied that the NHK-2 could be modified to carry a
nuclear explosive device. In 1979, Ground Defense International concluded
that "it may not be too difficult [for the ROK] to obtain a nuclear charge
and thus produce a fine tactical nuclear weapon." 8 Peter Hayes also noted
in his March 1993 study "International Missile Trade and the Two Koreas,"
that the Nike Hercules could carry a 0.1 - 0.5 ton warhead, "a considerable
Several sources have suggested that South Korea is planning the development
of a successor to the NHK-2, the NHK-A. This missile is purported to have a
longer range than the NHK-2, perhaps as long as 320 km. 10 Very little
information is available in the unclassified literature.
The ROK successfully launched its first ever scientific research rocket,
the KSR-1 in 1993. The rocket was 6.7 meters in length, had a single stage,
and could reach an altitude of 75 km. 11 Jane's Strategic Weapons Systems
states that ROK could modify the KSR-1 to a ballistic missile to carry a
200 kg payload a range of 150 km. 12
On July 10, 1997, the ROK test launched its first independently developed
science rocket, the KSR-2. According to reports from The Korea Herald, the
rocket is 11.1 meters in length, has two launch stages, and weighs
approximately two tons. On its initial test flight, the rocket carried a
150 kg scientific observation unit to an orbit of 151.5 km. unclassified
literature, however, does not indicate if the payload went into orbit.
Although the South Koreans have not given any indication that they will
convert the KSR-2 into a ballistic missile, Jane's Strategic Weapons
Systems notes that, "unconfirmed reports suggest that a secondary use might
be for a series of ballistic missiles with ranges from 100 to 900 km." 13
The literature suggests that the KSR-2 program is a step toward a South
Korean space launch program. According to an article published in Jane's
International Defense Review Extra in February 1997, South Korea is
developing a three-stage version of the rocket that may be completed by
1999. 14 There is no information in the unclassified literature, however,
specifying the potential range of this rocket if converted into a ballistic
Atlas Centaur IRBM
In 1979, the ROK military attempted to acquire components and technology
from the United States for the Atlas Centaur IRBM. The Atlas was first
deployed by the United States, and was designed to deliver a W-38 nuclear
warhead 7,000 km. While Peter Hayes' study "International Missile Trade and
the Two Koreas" concludes that the ROK purchased nose cone materials,
alloys, guidance systems, assembly equipment, and engineering drawings for
the Atlas Centaur from the United States, the study also states that it is
unclear whether the exchange ever took place or if the sale was blocked by
the State Department. 15
South Korea's International Arms Control Commitments
South Korea is party to numerous international arms control agreements that
are designed to curb the spread of weapons of mass destruction. South Korea
signed the NPT in 1975, and became a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group
in October 1995. In 1996, the ROK began participating in the Australia
Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement.
South Korea and the Missile Technology Control Regime
South Korea adheres to the export conditions of the Missile Technology
Control Regime (MTCR), although it has never formally joined the
arrangement. In recent years, however, the ROK has expressed strong
interest in joining the regime despite efforts by the United States to keep
South Korea bound to a highly restrictive bilateral agreement on missile
The U.S. Position
In 1979 the United States and South Korea signed a Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) that placed highly restrictive conditions on South
Korea's ballistic missile development capabilities. Under the terms of the
agreement, the ROK is prohibited from developing missiles with a range
greater than 180 km and above the maximum weight of 300 kg.
The United States has shown no indication that it will permit Seoul to join
the MTCR and alter the terms of the 1979 agreement. The United States has
asserted on numerous occasions that any activity by Seoul to alter the
conditions of the 1979 accord will ultimately have a harmful effect on U.S.
efforts to control North Korea's ballistic missile program. 16 In addition,
the United States has contended that any improvements in South Korea's
ballistic missile capabilities could spark an arms race in East Asia, and
could cause North Korea, Japan and China to seek improvements in their
ballistic missile capabilities. 17
The ROK Position
South Korea has aggressively lobbied the United States to allow it to join
the MTCR, which would ultimately ease U.S. control over its ballistic
missile programs. During negotiations with the United States, South Korea
argued that it had neither the desire nor the technical capability to
indigenously develop missile technology comparable to that of China, Japan
and North Korea. The ROK argued that it wished to obtain a minimal level of
technical independence from the United States on the missile issue, and
that MTCR membership was just as much an issue of national sovereignty as
it was a defense issue. 18
South Korean negotiators also argued that the 1979 bilateral agreement with
the United States was having a harmful impact on the ROK's space program by
limiting the development of rocket launchers and other space launch-related
technology. 19 They contended that the 1979 agreement would ultimately have
a harmful effect on the nation's economic development insofar as the ROK
could never become a global economic power without an indigenous space
program and space launch capability. In addition to extending the ranges of
its aerodynamic and ballistic missiles to 300 km, as a MTCR member South
Korea would also be able to cooperate with other regime members and thus be
permitted access to their missile technology and research.
Despite South Korea's commitment to the 1979 MoU, the unclassified
literature suggests that South Korea could be developing missiles and space
launch vehicles that violate the 1979 accord.
ROK Export Controls: Organization and Structure
The South Korean Government issued a decree in February 1991 specifying the
regulations for the export of some goods and technologies. 20 In October
1993, the South Korean government stated in the Public Notice on Export and
Import of Strategic Commodities and the Public Notice on Export and Import
of Strategic Technology that the nation had developed a "comparable in
practice" export control system. 21
South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) is the central
entity within the Korean Government that oversees the implementation of
export controls. In addition to MOTIE, six government agencies have some
peripheral involvement with export controls: the Economic Planning Board,
the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Commerce, the Office of Science and
Technology, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of
National Defense. 22 South Korea's Customs office works in conjunction with
these Ministries and also checks individual exports. The ROK's national
export control system is coordinated by the Council on Export and Import of
Control of Strategic Commodities and Technical Data, and the Committee for
Export Control of Strategic Commodities, which is headed by MOTIE. 23
Starting in October 1995, South Korea began controlling the export of six
different groups of items. The first three lists correspond to the former
COCOM standards and include an Industrial List, a Munitions List and
Nuclear List. The following year, the ROK revised these three lists to
follow the three-tiered structure of dual-use items that include (Basic,
Sensitive and Very Sensitive) and the military items controlled by the
Wassenaar Arrangement lists. Lists four to six outline the goods and
technologies that correspond to the control lists of the nuclear
nonproliferation regime (including the Nuclear Suppliers Group and Zanier
Committee), the MTCR, and the chemical and biological weapons conventions.
The ROK government, however, will expand the scope of these lists as South
Korean companies begin to produce goods that are subject to control. 24
The ROK requires that exporters obtain an Individual Export Permit for any
item on the control lists. The government, however, may award Blanket
Export Permits for shipments to nations that are members of the
multilateral export control regimes. Furthermore, specific blanket exports
may be issued for multiple exports for the same importer. Under both
circumstances, the exporting company must have Internal Compliance Programs
in order to receive the licenses.
It appears that the ROK distinguishes its export controls for three
different types of countries. The South Korean government outlaws exports
of items on the six lists to nations that have attempted to develop or plan
to develop weapons of mass destruction, to nations that threaten
international peace, or to nations that foster regional conflict. 25
South Korea does not specifically identify these nations, but does classify
them as either members or nonmembers of the nonproliferation export control
regime. While South Korea has banned the export of goods and technologies
to nations that do not adhere to international nonproliferation standards,
Korea offers licensing benefits to nations that have adopted responsible
export control systems, including, General Blanket Export Permits.
Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy
While a number of South Korean Ministries play some role in the ROK's
export control procedures, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy
(MOTIE) is the central authority in South Korea's export control process.
Any company that wishes to export a strategic item must apply to MOTIE for
a Korea Import Certificate. MOTIE issues export licenses for dual-use items
after consulting four technical committees that correspond to the control
lists of the Wassenaar Arrangement, the NSG (and Zannger Committee), the
Australia Group and the MTCR. 26
Under Article 61 of the Foreign Trade Act, MOTIE is empowered to
investigate suspicious trade cases. Although the ROK government has never
uncovered any violations of its export control regulations, Article 48-11
of the implementation decree states that the Government can deny companies
and individuals the right to trade strategic goods for up to one year if
convicted of export control violations.
In an attempt to keep South Korean industry well informed about the
government's nonproliferation export control standards, MOTIE provides
training for officials in the private sector, and distributes published
information on compliance issues. It appears, however, that a lack of
information on this subject has harmed past MOTIE efforts to convince
companies about the importance of compliance.
Weaknesses in South Korean Export Controls
According to Han S. Park, South Korea's export control system policies are
consistent with the regulations of the post-COCOM Wassenaar arrangement.
The rapid political and economic change that has occurred since the end of
the cold-war, however, has had a harmful impact on the effectiveness of
South Korea's current export control system. Park concludes that the
dissolution of Communism in Asia and Eastern Europe, and the development of
South Korea's "northern diplomacy" mean that Seoul's export control
initiatives are in need of comprehensive change. If the ROK does not
reevaluate its export control practices, the nation may not be able to
effectively control the export of its technologies and goods in the future.
Expanding Economic Relations with Former Communist Nations
Since the end of the cold war, the ROK has established commercial
relationships with Russia, China and the nations of Eastern Europe. Prior
to the early 1990's, South Korea had no economic interaction with any of
these countries. In recent years, however, South Korea has started to
believe that the economic opportunities in these nations are great, and
that stronger commercial ties with them will offset its diminishing trade
relationship with the United States.
On the one hand, the ROK views Russia, China and the nations of Eastern
Europe as ideal trading partners. In addition to being new markets, they
are sources of cheap labor for ROK industries. On the other hand, these
countries want to expand economic relations with the ROK, particularly
because of the ROK's advanced telecommunications and electronics
industries, areas that produce products with dual-use applications.
ROK government and industry officials have asserted that South Korea sees
great opportunities ahead for economic cooperation in high technology
arenas. Park concludes that the shared interests between the ROK and its
new trading partners could have significant ramifications for South Korea's
Government Inability and Unwillingness to Implement Controls
Park contends that despite pressure from the United States to comply with
Wassenaar guidelines, the ROK government has recently been unwilling to
implement the necessary controls over its exports so long as such
activities are economically productive. Furthermore, Park writes that ROK
companies have frequently manipulated the ambiguities in South Korea's
export control laws in order to export goods and technologies that may be
used in military applications abroad. Large aerospace firms such as
Hyundai, Samsung, Daewoo and Goldstar have been extremely aggressive at
developing new technologies that can be used in military applications. Even
if the ROK government has the will to strengthen its export control system,
it may not possess the resources and the ability to enforce these controls
before companies divert their goods and technologies abroad.
Park also writes that in recent years the ROK government has manipulated
U.S. requests to enforce its export control regulations: The ROK government
assures the United States that its export control practices are consistent
with Wassenaar standards, but in practice, frequently cooperates with
private industry to circumvent them.
ROK Missile Exports: Reasons for Responsible Behavior
Despite the many questions that exist regarding the effectiveness of South
Korea's export control system, Peter Hayes asserts the ROK has been
extremely responsible in limiting the spread of its missile technology. In
his 1993 study, Hayes lists three reasons why the ROK has never entered the
commercial missile market: Its security alliance with the U.S., its
adherence to international arms control agreements, and the high costs of
advanced missile systems: 27
The Security Alliance With the United States
The U.S.-ROK security alliance has discouraged the ROK from developing its
own ballistic missiles, and from exporting missile related technology.
Although South Korea has expressed strong interest in developing its own
indigenous missile program, the United States has used its leverage to
ensure that South Korea does not develop ballistic missiles beyond the
parameters of the 1979 MoU.
International Arms Control Agreement Adherence
South Korea has greatly valued its reputation as a peaceful trading state,
and its membership to international arms control agreements. Despite
several efforts to develop reprocessing technology for its nuclear
programs, South Korea has been a strong supporter of the Nonproliferation
Regime, and has abandoned efforts on several occasions to develop such
technology. Although Hayes asserts that South Korea will be a loyal
adherent to the export conditions of the MTCR if it ever becomes a regime
member, the United States clearly fears that South Korea would eventually
develop advanced booster rockets and missiles, with or without
The Cost of Advanced Missile Systems
In the past, South Korea has never had to develop its own ballistic and
aerodynamic missiles systems because of the U.S.'s security commitment to
the Korean Peninsula. The ROK relied heavily on U.S.-controlled missiles
deployed on the peninsula to offset the missile threat of the DPRK. The
South Korean military thus believed that it had more significant military
priorities than advanced missile programs.
Conclusion: The Future of Korea's Missile Programs and Related Export
While South Korea has relied heavily on the United States for security
assistance and protection for many years, the unclassified literature
suggests that the ROK has become determined to develop advanced missile and
booster rocket technology indigenously, especially in the face of a
declining U.S. presence in Korea and the Asia/Pacific Region. South Korean
officials have stated on a number of occasions that South Korea will devote
significant resources to developing a technologically advanced space
program in the coming years, thus making the ROK a significant player in
the aerospace market. Although South Korea is committed by the 1979 MoU to
refrain from building missiles with a range greater than 180 km, the
literature suggests that the ROK already possesses missiles that may
violate the parameters of the agreement and may be attempting to develop
SLV's that could be converted into ballistic missiles with ranges up to 900
In analyzing the unclassified body of literature on this subject, it is
very difficult to draw conclusions about the future of South Korea's export
control policies for missile technology. On the one hand, some scholars
believe that South Korea has a highly effective export control system which
carefully monitors the transfer of missile related technology Individuals
like Richard Cupitt assert that South Korea has in recent years developed
an export control system that is "comparable in practice" to systems in
COCOM/Wassenaar nations, and that South Korea's export control system is
secure enough to ensure preferential licensing treatment from foreign
On the other hand, Han S. Park writes that South Korea's export controls
need to be reformed and that the entire system is ineffective. Park
concludes that the ROK government has neither the will nor the resources to
implement an export control system that is effective. In realizing the
enormous trade opportunities that have materialized with former Communist
nations since the end of the cold war, the ROK government is willing to
allow South Korean companies to circumvent trade restrictions so long as
such behavior is economically productive. Furthermore, the United States is
losing leverage with South Korea over a number of issues, including,
If Cupitt's analysis of South Korea's export control system is more
accurate than Park's, South Korea already has strong export control
mechanisms in place for missile technology transfers. If the ROK ultimately
develops long range ballistic missiles that can strike targets around the
world, Cupitt believes the ROK's export control system is effective enough
to prevent the spread of this technology.
If Park, however, is painting a more accurate picture of South Korea's
export control system, then South Korea may very well export ballistic
missile technology in the future. If South Korea's large aerospace
corporations continue to become more involved with the nations of Eastern
Europe and the former Soviet Union, and the ROK government refuses to
implement its export control guidelines, South Korean ballistic missile
technology could be obtained by hostile nations in these regions.
1. U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, World Military Expenditures
and Arms Transfers 1997, p. 78. According to this report, the ROK has the
tenth largest defense budget in the world.
2. For more information, see Peter Hayes, International Missile Trade and
the Two Koreas, Monterey Institute for Nonproliferation Studies, March
1993, p. 7.
3. United States Congress Office of Technology Assessment, "Global Arms
Trade: Commerce in Advanced Military Technology and Weapons," United States
Government Printing Office, 1992, p. 133.
4. U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, World Military Expenditures
and Arms Transfers 1996, p. 129.
5. The Seoul Yonhap, "ROK: Government Targets Space Industry as Growth
Industry," FBIS-EAS-96-224, November 14, 1996.
6. See Duncan Lennox, ed. Jane's Strategic Weapons Systems (Jane's
Information Group Limited, Surrey, UK) May 1997, JSWS-Issue 24.
7. Gerald Steinberg, "Two Missiles in Every Garage," The Bulletin of Atomic
Scientists, October 1983, p. 48.
8. Ground Defense International, "South Korea," no 58, November 1979, pp.
9. Peter Hayes, "International Missile Trade and the Two Koreas," Working
Paper No. 1, Program for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of
International Studies, p. 9.
10. Duncan Lennox, ed. Jane's Strategic Weapons Systems (Jane's Information
Group Limited, Surrey, UK) May 1997, JSWS-Issue 24.
11. The Korea Herald, "Science Rocket Ready for Launch: KSR project
developed solely with local technology," July 5, 1997.
12. Jane's Strategic Weapons Systems (Jane's Information Group Limited,
Surrey, UK) May 1997, JSWS-Issue 24.
13. Jane's Strategic Weapons Systems (Jane's Information Group Limited,
Surrey, UK) May 1997, JSWS-Issue 24.
14. Wyn Bowen, Tim McCarthy and Holly Porteous, "Ballistic Missile Shadow
Lengthens," Jane's International Defense Review Extra, February 1997, pp.
15. See Peter Hayes, "International Missile Trade and the Two Koreas," p.
16. The Korea Herald, "South Korea, United States: ROK Needs U.S. Missile
Technology, Wants Less U.S. Restrictions," FBIS-EAS-96-237, December 9,
17. The Seoul Yonhap, "South Korea, United States: U.S. Rejects ROK Request
on Developing Long Range Missile," FBIS-EAS-96-234, December 4, 1996.
18. The Seoul Yonhap, "South Korea, United States: U.S. Demand for
Transparency Major Hurdle to Missile Issue," FBIS-EAS-96-234, December 4,
1996. Under the parameters of the MACRO, South Korea would be able to
develop missiles with ranges that could strike targets virtually anywhere
in North Korea.
19. The Seoul Yonhap, December 4, 1996.
20. Prime Minister's Decree Number 245, effective February 10, 1991.
21. Richard T. Cupitt, "Nonproliferation Export Controls in East Asia," The
Journal of East Asian Affairs, Summer/Fall 1997, p. 465.
22. Han S. Park, "South Korea's Export Control Policy," in International
Cooperation on Nonproliferation Export Controls: Prospects for the 1990's
and Beyond, eds. Gary K. Bertsch, Richard T. Cupitt and Steven Elliot-Gower
(Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1994) p. 255.
23. Cupitt, p. 467.
24. Ibid., p. 465. Also note that South Korea has banned the export of
dual-use items for military end-use.
25. Ibid., p. 466.
26. See Cupitt, p. 466. Also note that the Ministry of Science and
Technology reviews license applications for the export of nuclear and
strategic technology while the Ministry of National Defense licenses
exports and the transfer of items that fall on the Australia Group and MTCR
lists for military end-users.
27. Hayes, p. 22.