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South Korea`s Military Power Is 83% of the North`s

Posted May. 20, 2003 22:13,   


There is an argument that South Korea’s military capacity is still inferior to that of North Korea, at only 83% strength.

In an interview with this paper on Tuesday, Dr. Bruce Bennett of Rand, an American think tank, said: "At present, South Korea’s fighting power compared with North Korea is estimated at 83%, though up 5% from three years ago. Seoul’s military power is not strong enough to defend itself on its own against Pyongyang’s conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction." Dr. Bruce Bennett is visiting Korea to participate in a seminar organized by the Korea Aerospace Policy Institute on Wednesday.

Dr. Bennett, who is conducting research on the militaries of North and South Korea, announced in a study released two years ago that in 2000, South Korea’s own military power was 64% to North Korea’s 78%.

He argues that at present, the allied forces in South Korea and the US do not have the capabilities of defend South Korea against North Korea’s field artillery and that if the North uses biochemical weapons, it could cause enormous damage to US and South Korean ground forces in Seoul and its vicinity.

Regarding the self-defense of South Korea, he says that it is most important to prepare measures to prevent attacks by long-range artillery which can deliver biochemical weapons and missiles to obliterate Seoul, and that the South should consider a missile defense program of its own.

He also points out that North Korea seems to have concluded that it should possess weapons of mass destruction, after watching the US-led war in Iraq, and that if the Pyongyang government possessed nuclear weapons, its leadership could launch a nuclear attack on densely populated areas in South Korea as soon as it sees any sign of a preemptive strike by the US.

He continues that if the North does not give up its nuclear ambitions, the US would resort to a military strike, such as a precision preemptive strike, and the consequential North Korean counterattack would inflict enormous damage on the South. However, he says that eventually the North Korean leadership would be defeated.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com