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The rogue nation of North Korea is one of the world's most secretive societies
Ruled by a military dictatorship since it was formed in 1948
it often describes itself as a “self-reliant” socialist state with a cult of personality around its leader, Kim Jong-un
The country is technically still at war with its southern neighbour
since the Korean War armistice was agreed in 1953
It has had a frosty relationship with the West ever since
particularly over its continued development of nuclear weapons
So just how strong is North Korea's military?
North Korea's official title is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
When it comes to sheer numbers, the country's military is very impressive
1.2 million service members, or 5% of the North Korea's population, serve on active duty
with another 800,000 personnel in reserve
making it the fourth-largest army in the world behind China, India and the United States
It also dwarfs its neighbour, with roughly twice as many troops as South Korea
Experts believe North Korea's military spend could be as much as 24% of the country's national income
Pyongyang also has 4,000 battle tanks and 2,500 armored personnel carriers
The country's navy is a lot smaller, with around 800 vessels
These comprise 430 frigates and patrol vessels and around 70 submarines
In the skies, North Korea has 820 combat aircraft
including MiG-23 and MiG-29 fighters and Su-25 ground attack aircraft
The country has 21,000 artillery pieces
many of which are believed to be targeted on South Korea's capital, Seoul
While their armed forces might be immense, their weapons and equipment are largely obsolete
North Korea's diplomatic and economic isolation has led to their military capabilities to decline
Their troops are also poorly fed
with defectors often speaking of the hunger they suffered during their military service
This imbalance between North Korea and its rivals
is one of the main reasons why the rogue state has built its own nuclear arsenal
- to serve as a strong deterrent against invasion
in the last decade the country has progressed from having a handful of crude atomic bombs
to up to 20 nuclear warheads
capable of being loaded on short and medium range missiles
The country's short-range Hwasong-5 and 6 missiles can reach targets throughout South Korea
while its medium-range Nodong missiles could strike Japan
In 2017 North Korea tested its largest nuclear device to date
as well as demonstrating that its intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs,
could now potentially strike the mainland of the United States
The country has also pursued advanced cyber warfare capabilities so that in the event of war with the South
it could attack critical infrastructure and command-and-control networks
The country's cyber capabilities were first recognized in the 2014 Sony Pictures hack
allegedly perpetrated by North Korea in response to the studio's comedy movie The Interview
about a plot to assassinate Kim Jong-un
The U.S. also believes North Korea was behind the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack
that targeted computers running Microsoft Windows
With the election of Donald Trump,
tensions between North Korea and the United States initially escalated further
with the president mocking Kim Jong-un as “rocket man”
and threatening the rogue state with “fire and fury” if it endangered the U.S.
But 2018 saw a remarkable change in diplomacy between North Korea and the West
First, North and South Korea marched together during the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang
Then, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un agreed to talks with a summit
held in Singapore between the two nations in June
The leaders agreed to work towards denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,
but there were few details over what exactly that would entail
North Korea has not carried out nuclear tests for more than a year,
while the U.S. has not taken part in major joint exercises with South Korea
But a lack of nuclear disarmament by North Korea has led to tensions rising again
The U.S. wants to see the country getting rid of its nuclear weapons
before it eases economic pressure
but Kim Jong-un has warned that he may change his approach
if Washington persists with sanctions
Whether continued dialogue can lead to a nuclear free Korea remains to be seen
While there is a real opportunity to forever improve relations between North Korea and the West,
the secretive nature of Kim Jong-un's totalitarian state
means it is hard to know whether a potentially catastrophic conflict could still be on the horizon
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How Strong Is North Korea's Military?

42 分類 收藏
Seina 發佈於 2020 年 9 月 7 日
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