North Korea also known as the Hermit Kingdom due to its secretive nature is a nation shrouded in mystery where little information about the country itself has leaked into the rest of the world. As one of the last fully communist countries North Korea is able to draw the attention of many, especially with its current ruler Kim Jong Un and his threatening Nuclear Arsenal, now armed with the potential to hit almost anywhere in the world who knows what the future holds for our international security.With North Korea’s newest leader, Kim Jong Un tensions between North Korea and the international community seems to be rising each passing day. With the use of different policies and sanctions on the country North Korea’s power and influence on our world appears limited and miniscule compared to the United States or Russia, however it still poses a dangerous threat, especially to its neighbours South Korea and Japan. With the doomsday clock sitting at one of its closest points to midnight, just two and half minutes nuclear war could no longer be fiction.
North Korea’s aspirations to continue with their underground tests with there already being several in the past decade; have got the international community on the edge of their seats. This essay will examine the political and economic evidence of the policies and sanctions given to North Korea whilst analysing their overall effectiveness into diffusing North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and its passive aggressive nature. ————————————————————————————————————————North Korea’s nuclear program has never ceased to source concerns within the international community. By grasping an understanding on the threat that North Korea poses we need to analyse and understand the potential threat that North Korea poses with its military capabilities, especially considering North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. Since the late 1970s, North Korea has begun the expansion, reorganization and modernization of its military forces.
Recorded in 1992, over 90% of the KPA’s (Korean People’s army) consists of ground forces, more than 1 million active ground troops. The KPA’s military expansion is evident from the armies size in the 1960s, where it consisted of less than 400,000 persons. The expansion of the KPA has left many concerns within the international community, especially with its neighbours Japan and South Korea, with South Korea being one of the most vulnerable countries to an attack from the KPA. In light of recent data from 2015 we are able to estimate or have a fundamental idea of the true size and capabilities of the DPRK’s army. With a force of 1.2 million active troops North Korea poses as an immediate threat to its neighbour South Korea.
With 1.19 million armed ground soldiers, 21,100 artillery pieces, 3,500 battle tanks, 72 submarines, 302 helicopters, and 563 combat aircraft the threat to the South Korean people. With the capital sitting just 35 miles away from the Korean militarized zone, which is one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world, the impending threat of North Korea is even closer than it seems. The Hermit Kingdom appears to be able to deal maximum damage to South Korea, especially the people of Soul that have 25 million people, making it one of the most densely populated city in the world. By further comparing the South Korea’s and North Korea’s forces it can be easily assumed that the North Korean army far outnumber the military power of south Korea’s ground forces. Adm.
Harry Harris, commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, stated that America needs to wield “credible combat power all the time” in order to combat the threat of North Korea, here Adm.
Harry Harris further reinforces the fact that North Korea poses as a strong danger towards South Korea, this is further emphasised through the fact that North Korea has a “shock factor” as North Korea has the ability to rain down artillery shells and rockets upon population centres; this poses an increased threat towards South Korea as Seoul lies only a few kilometres from the border. Japan also is vulnerable to threat as North Korean medium-ranged rockets could easily hit the populated areas of Japan. It is predicted that after missile and artillery assaults upon its neighbours hundreds and thousands of troops back by armoured vehicles are expected to swarm across the border in hope of taking advantage of the brief window of opportunity created by the element of surprise. On the other hand, in order to combat this Former Army Intelligence Officer Michael Pregent predicts that the “regime fears desertion once their forces cross the DMZ”, this is due to their lack of supplies and possible inability to back up their troops with food, fuel, clothes, and ammunition. Pregnant also states “every war game that I’ve ever been a part of, the North Koreans run out of water, food and ammo.” Evidence of the further probability of desertion comes from the psychological shock that come when invading South Korea.
The fact that North Korean troops have been told they are the best of the world however, this is countered by the fact that their vision is 20 years old, North Korean weapons have a tendency to jam, and their boots are worn out. By facing the reality of the fact that crossing a nation that has regular power outages into a 21st century economic leader and powerhouse North Korean soldiers face the high chance of taking shock and perhaps the possible desertion of their own army. This is further evidenced by Pregent’s statement showing “how closeted these guys are, the mere presence of a good stand bursting with goods on the side of the road would blow them away, not to mention ipads and iphones.” On top of the probability of the destruction of North Korean troops ideology of the world, South Korea has many more defences put into place. With a population of 50,924,172 people South Korea has a total military personnel of 5,829,750 people with 627,500 active personnel and 5,202,250 reserve personnel.
However, compared to North Korea’s military personnel South Korea has a smaller amount of military personnel. Despite this, South Korea’s higher defence budget of $43,800,000,000 compared to North Korea’s annual defence budget of $7,500,000,000, South Korea, despite having a smaller military force has more money to spend on better military technologies, equipment and supplies. It also has a higher potential in investing in the quality, strength and level of training of their troops.