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NIC report: Unified Korea to emerge as new military power in East Asia

NIC report: Unified Korea to emerge as new military power in East Asia

Posted December. 19, 2000 20:34,   


The National Intelligence Council (NIC), affiliated with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has predicted that if South and North Korea are unified, the nation would emerge as a military power in East Asia.

The council also said that East Asia would see increased uncertainties over the next 15 years due to China's booming economy and growing prospects for Korean unification.

Following are highlights of a report unveiled by the NIC on Dec. 18, titled "World Political Outlook 2015: Talks with Private Experts on the Future."

Korean Peninsula:

South Korea will exhaust a lot of strength and resources in the process of striving to achieve national unification in the coming 10 to 15 years. But when the nation is unified and U.S. forces are allowed to stay on, Korea will emerge as a new military power.

However, if the nation fails to achieve unification, a shadow will be cast over the peninsula's security due to North Korea's possession of weapons of mass destruction. There is a chance that North Korea, already suspected of possessing nuclear weapons, will improve the accuracy, firing range and loading capacity of the its inter-continental ballistic missiles or develop new weaponry with better performance capability.

East Asia:

There is more than a 50 percent possibility that military conflicts or violence could occur in the region in the coming 15 years. The economic boom in China and the prospect for the Korean Peninsula's unification will add to uncertainty in the region.

China will try to strengthen its ties with neighbors such as Russia in order to weaken U.S. support for Taiwan and U.S. influence in the region. Japan will push for measures to cut its dependence on the United States and stand on its own as far as national security is concerned.

Population, energy and disease:

The world population will increase from the present 6.1 billion to 7.2 billion by 2015. The number of "Megacities" with populations of more than 10 million will increase and the urban environment will worsen overall due to poor facilities such as bridges, electricity and sewage systems.

Global demand for energy will increase more than 50 percent, but there will be no severe food shortages nor rapid depletion of resources. But water could become a major source of regional conflicts in the Middle East and Africa.

AIDS and tuberculosis will decrease the average life span of people in underdeveloped countries to between 30 and 40 in the next 15 years and produce more than 40 million orphans and children in poverty.

Lee Jong-Hoon taylor55@donga.com