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North Korea vs. South Korea: Military Power Comparison

Strengthening the defense system of the nation is perhaps the most vital thing. It assures and offers protection to the country and its people against any enemy forces that may threaten them. With the help of advancing science and technology, various countries have been able to make weapons, military products and systems that can enhance the overall defense system by a great margin. Since all countries do not have equal access to these military weapons, products and systems, some are more powerful than the others. North Korea and South Korea are two such nations who have been compared against one another for a long time. So, let us have a look at a detailed comparison of the military strength of North Korea and South Korea based on certain essential factors:

Military Branches

 The North Korean Military has chiefly five branches, namely North Korean People’s Army, Navy, Ground Forces, Air Force and Civil Security Forces. On the other hand, South Korea has three military branches, namely the Republic of Korea Army, Air Force and Navy (which also includes its Marine Corps).

Military Service Age and Obligation

 The age for compulsory military service in North Korean military is 18 years. While for minimum legal age for voluntary military service is 16 to 17 years. On the other hand, for South Korean Military, the age for compulsory military service is 20 to 30 years and the minimum legal age for voluntary military service being 18 to 26 years. Women are allowed to enter military under 7 service branches.

Manpower for Military Service

 The male and female manpower (within the age group of 16 to 49 years) available for military service in North Korea is 6,515,279 and 6,418,693, respectively as per the estimates made in year 2010. While the male and female manpower fit for military service is 4,836,567 and 5,230,137, respectively. Annually, about 207,737 males and 204,553 females reach military significant age. However, currently the active military personnel in North Korean military are over 6.9 lakh. On the other hand, the male and female manpower (within the age group of 16 to 49 years) available for military service in South Korea is 13,185,794 and 12,423,496, respectively as per the estimates made in year 2010. While the male and female manpower fit for military service is 10,864,566 and 10,168,709, respectively. Annually, about 365,760 males and 321,225 females reach military significant age. However, currently the active military personnel in South Korean military are over 6.4 lakh.

 

Army and Weapons

 The North Korean Army has tank strength of 4200, AFV strength of 4100, SPG strength of 2250, MLRS strength of 2400, Fleet strength of 1061 and towed artillery strength of 4300. On the other hand, South Korean Army has tank strength of 2,381, AFV strength of 2,660, SPG strength of 1990, MLRS strength of 214, Fleet strength of 166 and towed artillery strength of 5,374.

Air Force

The North Korean Air Force has 940 aircrafts with 202 helicopters, 20 attack helicopters, 516 attack fixed wing aircrafts, 458 fighter aircrafts, 165 trainer aircrafts and 99 transport aircrafts.  On the other hand, South Korean Air Force has 1,412 aircrafts with 606 helicopters, 77 attack helicopters, 399 attack fixed wing aircrafts, 399 fighter aircrafts, 277 trainer aircrafts and 342 transport aircrafts.

Navy

 The Navy of North Korea has Merchant Marine Strength of 158, fleet strength of 1,061, 70 submarines, 4 frigates, no destroyers, 6 corvettes, 23 mine warfare crafts, and 528 patrol crafts. On the other hand, the navy of South Korea consist of Merchant Marine Strength of 786, fleet strength of 166, 14 submarines, 10 frigates, 12 destroyers, 21 corvettes, 10 mine warfare crafts, and 84 patrol crafts.

Nuclear Defense

 Though initially both North Korea and South Korea declared not to manufacture, possess, store, deploy or use any nuclear weapons, the two nations failed to maintain this stance. One important factor that lead to this change was that every other country is the world is now equipping its military with nuclear warheads. The North Korean military has a strategic nuclear force that consists of 12 to 27 stockpiled nuclear warheads. On the other hand, South Korean military has a nuclear force that consists of 18 to 20 nuclear warheads, almost comparable to what North Korea possesses.

 

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  • Raghav

    North Korea’s bloated armed forces outnumber those of its southern neighbour by a large margin,but that does not mean its military is dominant – in fact, only a nuclear arsenal would mean it can insure against military defeat.