What is North Korea Up To?

24 February 2009: According to South Korea, the Communist North has completed deployment of new medium range missiles and expanded its military to 1.2 million. The intermediate-range missiles can travel up to 3000km which enables it to reach almost all of Asia. The missile is estimated to carry a warhead of up to 650kg.

The latest development in North Korea’s missile capabilities raised concerns in South Korea. A defence white paper in 2008 states that North Korea is developing conventional weaponry, weapons of mass destruction, and frontline deployment of military power. Furthermore, the number of lightly equipped special forces trained to swiftly infiltrate South Korea has increased some 50%.

A South Korean official stated that the North would develop new strategies to complement its shortfall in conventional weaponry. This includes guerrila warfare. The white paper also stated that Pyongyang had increased the number of its multiple rocket launches by 300 to 5,100 and reinforced its submarines. Together with that, a paper in 2006 suggested that the North may have 2,500 to 5,000 tonnes of chemical weapons.

Perhaps the greatest threat is the presumed acquisition of 40kg of plutonium from its Yongbyon reactor (enough to manufacture one or two nuclear bombs). While increasing the size of the military does not always lead to an outright war, it drastically increase its probability.

In the early days prior to World War II, all countries from Germany to the United Kingdom were spending huge sums of money on rearming their military. The arms race is like a domino effect caused by a single country increasing heavily its military spending.

While military spending creates a multiplier effect as the demand for raw materials and expertise increase, this version of ‘Keynesian’ economics is unsustainable. When the time to repay the national debt, a country might be low on cash and yet having a high quantity of military equipment. So how can that nation solve its problem?

Declare war on a smaller country and conduct a ‘legal’ wholesale robbery….

BBC Facts:

  • Full name: The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
  • Population: 23.9 million (UN, 2008)
  • Capital: Pyongyang
  • Area: 122,762 sq km (47,399 sq miles)
  • Major language: Korean
  • Major religions: Mainly atheist or non-religious, traditional beliefs
  • Life expectancy: 65 years (men), 69 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 won = 100 chon
  • Main exports: Minerals and metals, cement, agricultural products
  • GNI per capita: n/a
  • Internet domain: .kp
  • International dialling code: +850

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  1. […] A defence white paper in 2008 states that North Korea is developing conventional weaponry, weapons of mass destruction, and frontline deployment of military power. Furthermore, the number of lightly equipped special forces trained to …Continue […]



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