Stallers of proliferation – Why is South Korea not nuclear?

Post by Cristina Varriale, Research Intern at ICSA

The beginning of 2016 has seen several major blows to the threat perceptions of South Korea. On the 6th January, its isolated and precarious neighbour, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted an underground nuclear test. Shortly following this on the 7th February, the DPRK successfully launched a satellite into orbit, testing prohibited dual-use missile launch technologies. While scepticism of exact capabilities persists, the steps between current technologies and a deliverable nuclear tipped missile appear to be reducing.  Nevertheless, despite a total of four nuclear tests, numerous missile launches and suggestions of a fifth nuclear test possible[1], South Korea are not currently countering with their own nuclear weapons programme despite calls from senior politicians[2].   Continue reading

Gain of function research: what is it and why should we care?

If mishandled, there is a very real danger that progressive scientific technology could have disastrous societal impacts. Of particular concern is gain-of-function research. A well-established methodology in microbiology and genetics, its application to infectious disease agents with pandemic potential has been called into serious question. My blog will briefly explore the importance of this technical issue, the associated biosafety and biosecurity risks and conclude with key policy considerations for making the most of the technology.

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