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South Korea Would Win War with North

So… what if North and South had it out sans US intervention?

This is the question the Maeil Gyeongje asks. And the answer is that the South would ultimately win… but without preparation, it would be ugly. As a military official says, no matter how bad the North Korean economy is and how outdated their weapons are, they can still fight for two or three days.

A 2004 analysis report by the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA), using RAND’s argame model, revealed South Korea’s army strength to be 80% of North Korea’s, its naval strength 90% of the North’s, and its air force strength 103% of the North’s.

The Defense Ministry’s 2008 defense white paper, published in February, noted that the North has 1,600 more tanks, 300 more warships and 350 more warplanes than the South.

OK, this doesn’t seem particularly encouraging.

The KIDA report, however, lowballed South Korean capabilities while assuming the highest figures for the North, and it did not take into consideration C4I and information capabilities, the most important factors in modern warfare. And even if you could objectively input the numbers, you can’t weigh strategy.

According to material submitted to the National Assembly late last year by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the North and South Korean militaries do not compare. The Joint Chiefs noted that North Korean tanks have weak night fighting capabilities, their armored vehicles cannot cross rivers and their field guns are inaccurate.

North Korea, for instance, has T-34 and T-54/55 tanks with 88mm and 100mm guns, as well as Chonma-ho tanks with 115mm guns. These tanks, however, are not equipped with infra-red detection equipment and are not watertight, giving them limited night-fighting and river-crossing capabilities.

North Korea’s 3,000 or so T-54/55s and PT-76s are outdated tanks introduced in 1964. In fact, of the 3,900 or so tanks possessed by North Korea, over 90% are reportedly of older designs.

South Korea, on the other hand, has K-2 tanks, which come decked out with all sorts of nifty tracking and fire control equipment and Cobra gunships with stuff that can penetrate 9cm of armor.

The South also has armored vehicles with outstanding river-crossing capabilities and K-9 self-propelled guns with automatic firing control. Moreover, of South Korea’s 2,300 tanks, only about half are outdated models like its 400 or so M47s introduced in 1959 and 800 or so M48A5s introduced in 1977. On the other hand, the South has about 1,200 new model K1A1 1,200 tanks and 80 T-80Us, and is pushing the introduction of the much more advanced XK-2 tank.

The North Korean navy has its issues, too. North Korean warships aren’t good on the high seas and their conventional weaponry gives them limited night-time operational capabilities.

The only capably warships North Korea has are the 1,500t Najin class and 1,640t Soho class. Most of its ships are small craft of 402t that are deployed along the front line.

South Korea, on the other hand, has the 4,500t KDX and 7,600t Sejong the Great class, an Aegis warship capable of independent operations.

Including the P-3C, South Korea also has better naval aviation and long-range attack capabilities. For example, the North Korea’s largest warship, the Najin-class, would get sunk by South Korea’s Haeseong ship-to-ship missile (with a range of 150km) even before it got near a Sejong the Great-class warship.

In the submarine department, North Korea has 22 Romeo-class (1,830t) subs and about 60 semi-submersibles. The Rome-class compares with South Korea’s Type 214 Son Won-il-class (1,800t) in tonnage, but not in capabilities.

The Son Won-il class can cruise underwater at 7.4km an hour for 13 days, while the Romeo class is an older type that must raise an air intake mast above water to recharge its diesel engines.

Then there’s the air force. You can really feel the difference when you compare the two sides’ top fighters, the South’s F-15K and the North’s MiG-29. In an air battle, the F-15K — with its longer radar — would be firing missiles at the MiG even before the MiG knew it was there. And it terms of ground-attack capabilities, the MiG-29 has only short-range guided munitions, while the F-15K can launch precision strikes against major facilities in Pyongyang from 280km out with the SLAM-ER. The ROK Air Force believes one F-15K can take on 10 North Korean MiG-29s. Then there’s the rest of the crap North Korea flies — the country’s 840 warplanes include about 362 MiG-15s and 362 MiG-21s introduced around the Korean War and in the 1960s. South Korea’s 490 warplanes include 130 KF-16s it introduced in the 1990s and 39 F-15Ks.

Marmot’s Note: North Korea has 1.02 million troops. South Korea has 650,000 troops. My favorite stat, though, is the defense budget — South Korea’s defense budget in 2008 was 26.64 trillion won, nearly 390 times North Korea’s 2008 defense budget of 68.47 billion won.

Anyway, the moral of this story — and its one I really wish US pundits would pay attention to — is that South Korea is more that capable of defending itself. This is not 1950.

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • NetizenKim

    Then there’s the rest of the crap North Korea flies — the country’s 840 warplanes include about 362 MiG-15s and 362 MiG-21s introduced around the Korean War and in the 1960s.

    It’s what one would call a “target-rich environment”.

  • http://koreanamerican431.blogspot.com/ baduk

    Vietnam, right after Paris Peace Talk, had 4th largest weaponery in the world.

    In the world!

    However, as soon as the fighting began, Vietnam gave up. The poor will not fight for the rich who had their sons escape the war.

    SK society is not clear. However, the gap between the rich and the poor exists. And, the youth may not have the fighting spirit. when the shooting starts, they may run.

    I cannot guarantee that SK could win.

    And, China and Russia may not sit still. Especially China. It may have its own troops to rush into NK. Even to the 38th parallel.

    Don’t forget Tibet.

    Don’t forget the Korean War.

    China is not a country you think it is.

  • http://www.jdlink.co.kr Linkd

    The poor will not fight for the rich who had their sons escape the war.

    baduk, buddy, that’s what war is, always has been, and always will be.

  • http://koreanamerican431.blogspot.com/ baduk

    The worst thing that can happen in Korea is that SK will somehow get sucked into NK’s internal problem. NK may, due to its internal problem, provoke SK into a war.

    SK may be able to get upper hand quickly.

    However, China may get into the war proclaiming NK requested the protection.

    This may lead to the war between China and SK.

  • snow

    It would be an ugly mess if anything happened, with or without the involvement of the US. Of course nothing’s going to happen. KJI and his people are finished if anything did happen. Nothing to fear, it’s just the North doing its usual cage rattling. Best to ignore them. Giving in to the usual attempts at blackmail/extortion will only mean that the South and the US pick up the tab yet again. The North can go to hell in a handbasket (further than it already is). Carry on and let them choke on their own fake ‘rage’.

  • es1982

    “Anyway, the moral of this story — and its one I really wish US pundits would pay attention to — is that South Korea is more that capable of defending itself. This is not 1950″

    One of the things US military types were fond of saying when I was there was that their mission was

    ‘to keep ROK forces from going north, as much as they were there to prevent another invasion from the North.’

    I doubt if that’s as true now as it would have been in 1953, when Rhee Seung-man wanted to keep up the fight, or in the 1960′s and 70′s and apparently into the 1980′s. The ROK has seen what the impact of reunification was in Germany after 1989. Level headed people know that the ratios, in terms of respective size of national economies and population were much more in favor of West Germany than they would be for South Korea.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that the US isn’t in Korea just as a deterrent to the outbreak of another internecine war. Although maintaining tens of thousands of forces on the Korean peninsula is rather expensive, and the left wing has been shouting “Yahng-qui Go Home!” for decades, it appears to me that it’s one piece of the Pentagon’s strategic deployments aimed at projecting US power to as many far reaching parts of the globe as possible.

  • Kapok Crusader

    Training with your hardware is important or it will rust in place. North Korea has a good deal of hardware on paper, but my guess they known little about maintaining it because they can’t afford to use it. North Korea keeps a stockpile of oil and tries to get by using coal. There exercises seem more about bringing in the crops than implementing strategies.

    Initially the North will have an advantage because they will have the element of surprise. Much of what they do will be aimed at sealing South Korea off from re-supply. Block the South’s harbors and sabotage the South’s airfields. That’s why such a high percentage of the North’s Army is Special Forces. A good portion of the saboteurs will be inserted using AN-2 Colts which are — no joke — bi-planes. The North must win quickly because once the US’s troops and supplies roll in, the North can’t dream of doing comparable hardware replacement. They want to win quick before American support can be mobilized. In the US it will be hard to sell a war that looks nearly over from the outset so the South MUST LOOK like it has poential.

    Both the North and the South have miles and miles of barbed wire and bunkers and tank traps. Whoever what to move forward will pay a dear price.

    From what I’ve seen the South Koreans are better all around and do some training. The North has raw numbers (remember some of those numbers apply to units that really do what we would call civilian stuff) and those raw numbers will be thrown into battle with the fervor of the defense of Stalingrad.

    I’d bet on South Korea if I had faith South Korea could bet on the current US administration.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    “That’s why such a high percentage of the North’s Army is Special Forces.”
    Given how loosely North Korea defines a soldier (most of them spend their time farming), I doubt its special forces are much of a threat. The high number of special forces soldiers makes me suspect that either the numbers have been fudged or that they aren’t very selective about recruits.

    I’ve been saying that for year, and I’ll say it again:

    North Korea’s military isn’t a threat to the South Korean military.

    Everything of strategic importance in North Korea is targeted. Even if it’s WW2 tanks and Korea War era planes were properly maintained and supplied (I doubt they are), the few that would survive the first few minutes of a war would be deprived of logistic support and the very few that would manage to cross the DMZ would be swiftly taken out as they aren’t a match for South Korea’s modern weaponry.

  • http://koreanamerican431.blogspot.com/ baduk

    NK is not the main factor or not even the main enemy.

    China is!

    McArthur, even though a great general he was, misjudjged the Chinese. He thought there would be no rhyme or reason for the Chinese to enter into Korean war.

    He was dead wrong. The Chinese was very intended to enter. They wanted to. And, they did.

    Obama and American public may be reading the Chinese wrong as well. Why would the Chinese risk it all by fighting in the side of NK? Wouldn’t they lose it all including the recent economic advances? Why would the Chinese do it?

    That is the western thinking. Orientals have other things to think about. Like the regional hegemony. The saving of the face. The leadership role in the region.

    China may enter the war. In the big way, as it did during the Korean war.

  • snow

    But there would be no reason for the North to start anything in the first place as they have the most to lose.

  • http://koreanamerican431.blogspot.com/ baduk

    The Chinese are sort of klutz in the world.

    Talk about the Cultural Revolution. A stupid wife of Great Chairman Mao (a womanize) and three yes-men get together and sent all scholars to pig farms.

    Just to cover up her lack of education!

    What a stupid country! And, grown-ups in the country stood and did nothing. What a bunch of losers!

    The country is run with an emperor without clothes and everybody agrees that is the correct way for China.

    What a fuckups.

    These losers will invade NK and ruin SK. I bet you. Just wait and see.

    The fucking Chinese.

    All the cheaters in Baduk sites are the Chinese. Koreans and the Japanese do not cheat. But the Chinese. What a fucked up nation.

    Stilll think that they are “the center of the earth” and all others are Savages. No democracy or Love for Human Race.

    Just them. Them only.

    Ready to Fuck up other countries.

  • Kapok Crusader

    Beware of losers in large numbers.

  • rmeurant

    A surprise (non-nuclear) bombardment of Seoul, causing massive devastation, would obviously severely hamper the South’s response. If Seoul is effectively taken out of the equation, what then?

    Which reminds me, I have on several occasions over the last three months seen tanks being railroaded north through Seoul and Gangwando.

  • http://koreanamerican431.blogspot.com/ baduk

    rmeurant,

    Actually that is a favorite scenario being tossed around in military strategists. A sudden special forces attack by NK on Seoul and after Seoul is taken a quick cease-fire and negotiation.

    However, I do not think South Koreans are wimps. SKs will rather die than to kneel before NKs. Koreans love to go for the jugular, even when in weak position.

    Just for the fuck of it.

    You wrote a massive fire attack on Seoul. Well, SK military is well-prepared for this scenario. All important military personnel will hide underground. Only civilians will die.

    And, SK airforce can bomb some NK artillery as well as SK artillery’s counter fire.

    SK can handle NK. It is when China enters the war that worries me. And, I am certain China will.

  • maotai

    If NK goes ga-ga and invades SK. The US, SK and China will probably effect a reigime change. NK will be kept intact as nobody wants to take responsibility for all the necessary $$$ for it. The new NK government and economy will be managed by both SK and China with new NK leaders knowing that they are entirely dispensable. NK can then be forced to embark on economic reformation to earn their own keep.

  • wood

    Baduk, I’m sorry to bust your bubble man and no offense, but I think your thoughtless/racist comments show you haven’t studied or know much of international relations/security theories and strategies. Your comments also hint that you do not know much of Chinese politics. Why on earth would China come into a war to aid North Korea? Where does your logic come from? The world today and China is totally different than it was in the 1950′s! Some of the statements you make are groundless and quite historically inaccurate.

    Firstly, do you have any idea who China’s #1 trading partner is? It’s South Korea. No way in hell is China, whose economy is reliant on the stability of South Korea, going to back a war led by North Korea. Its absolutely ludicrous. The 2 economies are highly interdependent! And if you know much about Chinese history and politics, you would know that the Chinese are not going to give up economic prosperity for the sake of North Korea, a whiny pain in its side from the Cold War. For if the economy within China takes a nose-dive, the population in China is going to become quite discontent and the social ills which have been masked by economic prosperity as it was in the 80′s will shine through. The people will protest and call for reforms and seek radical changes just as they did in 1911, 1949, and 1988…This is something the CCP definitely doesn’t want because the people in China are much more evolved today than they were in 1988 in Tiananmen. The CCP leadership knows it can’t cow them back into submission again.

    Secondly, of course China has a special relationship with North Korea. Its a relationship that it has kept and needs to show its ability to become a big player in world politics. If China can keep North Korea under control and bring about stability in the region, hence its initiative and “leadership” in the 6-party talks, it shows the world order that it is indeed seeking a peaceful rise. The more international institutions China joins, the more it aids in dispute resolutions peacefully, the more it contributes to peace and economic prosperity in Asia, it will challenge the world order that only democracy is good for the world. It want to challenge the US world order and rid the US’s hegemonic stance in Asia and using North Korea in this game is one step to that end. So no, China is not going to jump on the gun to support a North Korean attack.

    Thirdly, the Chinese didn’t just decide to come to North Korea’s aid. It was provoked by MacArthur who wanted to attack and get rid of the “weak” communist threat in China. The US leadership did not want a direct confrontation with China nor would they give MacArthur the go ahead to do so…Thus, MacArthur sent troops frequently into Chinese territory and worked to provoke responses from China, thereby luring them into the war.
    Why was MacArthur relieved of his command in 1951? Because he wasn’t listening to superiors, he provoked the Chinese, which led to complications in the Korean war efforts.

    I’m certain China won’t enter a war between NK and SK…and I’m even more certain that NK won’t ever attack SK unless someone is completely bananas up there…thats arguable, but not likely.

  • non korean

    I’ve lived in South Korea for over 10 years now. While I have great respect for the professional soldiers of the ROK to do their duty and defend the ROK to the best of their abilities, the same can’t be said about the average male that is counted in those ROK assets. When I ask Korean males age 20-40 what they would do if North Korea attacked, 90% of them say they would run. Let’s just say it is an ample sample size of over a thousand males. And I’m fairly sure that a decent portion who said they would stay and fight, would run when it came down to it. You have to have the will to win and I don’t see that in South Korea. History is littered with examples. I do not want to infer that in some way Koream men are cowardly. I’m sure all of them would be looking after their families. I can only infer that most don’t see the logic that by protecting the country, they would protect their family.

  • Mizar5

    “Thus, MacArthur sent troops frequently into Chinese territory and worked to provoke responses from China, thereby luring them into the war.”

    Curious where you got this “factoid”?

  • wood

    Mizar5,
    you’re curious where I got this factoid? From the mass of books and articles that I have read on the North Korean war…I didn’t just pull it out of the air man. I’m a scholar on NEA security and strategy…there is plenty of documentation available for anyone to read about how China warned the US not to venture within 20 miles of its borders along the Yalu, yet MacArthur chose to test the Chinese, defying orders…and there are debated accounts of MacArthur sending patrols into Chinese territory…it is easy to argue where that line of territory is. Which is possibly why Chinese officials told the US not to come within 20 miles of its border. China was threatened by the US and it wasn’t going to sit idly by and allow the US to attempt to invade China and overthrow the newly established communist government.

  • Scotty

    Couldn’t agree more,non Korean. Given Korea’s aggresive drivers, and, um, pedestrians, and given my confrontational nature, I got in a lot of stand-offs with a lot of Korean males. Every man-jack of them backed off. I always found that the Korean national character was to appear and act aggresively, but to back off the second that aggression was reciprocated. They’re all just hair and clothes.

  • http://www.jdlink.co.kr Linkd

    Every man-jack of them backed off.

    So why keep trying? Rather than just giving yourself over to road rage in the obviously vain hope that some Korean guy will hand you the opportunity to beat him up on the street, you could just….um….learn how to drive?

  • Kapok Crusader

    The ROK rank and file would run? To where exactly?

    Maybe they’d consider it, but they are talking to you as a foreigner and exercising a little nunchi.

  • Mizar5

    “there are debated accounts of MacArthur sending patrols into Chinese territory”

    Thank you, wood, for backing off on your statement that “MacArthur sent troops frequently into Chinese territory and worked to provoke responses from China, thereby luring them into the war.” Your admission that this is interpretation and opinion confirm my understanding. While I agree that McArthur’s drive was a bit reckless, to lay the Chinese invasion on the US’s doorstep is plainly rhetorical.

  • Mizar5

    The individual cowardice of the Korean male can be traced to peer submission and lack of American-style rugged individualism. However, Koreans are a collective society so it would be uncharacteristic to turn tail and run.

  • http://koreanamerican431.blogspot.com/ baduk

    16 wood.

    What China wants to do is to be a mob boss. He has a legimate front but yet at the same time his muscles. He will conduct a regular business but he also run his competition out of town using his dogs.

    NK is China’s main dog.

    NK will be used to attack Japan. SK will just fall in line.

    If the US or SK want to hurt his subordinate, if China stays calm, he loses his face. He will never get any respect from that point on. The Chinese people are not smart; they are still under Communism!

    These losers will back China protecting NK. Even to the extent of going to a war against the US or SK.

    The Chinese still do not know their hole from the hole in the ground. See the Chinese Communist party is still in control. In 21st century! What is wrong with this picture!

    Conclusion: The Chinese are still fucked-up people! Keeping stupid bureaucrats in power because these losers told them to “love your country, love your people. Outsiders are evil”.

  • http://koreanamerican431.blogspot.com/ baduk

    16 wood.

    I have legimate reason to hate the Chinese. Some of my relatives died fighting fuckers during the Korean war.

    What gave your kind to invade, yes invade, the unified Korea at that point and re-establish Kim IlSung government.

    Yes, China fucked Korea in bad way. Very bad way.

    It split Korea into North and South again.

    China is a evil country. And, its people are stupid, and yes evil. Only evil people do what they did to Korea and don’t even recognize it or appologize for it.

    That is a typical Chinese action. No responsibility.

  • babotaengi

    So let’s get the ball rolling on this thing, eh?

  • Scotty

    Link’d

    I’m talking about being a pedestrian and someone running a red and driving straight at me. And I would be the one that got beat up, more than likely. Most Korean dudes are trained killers. They just back down very easily, which is lucky for me, but perhaps not for them.

  • wood

    Mizar,
    No, I wasn’t backing off. In my research, I believe it and was just explaining it is debated. And for others, I’m not saying that was the only reason the Chinese entered the war for there are numerous reasons…MacArthur just happened to be one…

    Baduk…hahahahahahah….”What gave your kind to invade, yes invade, the unified Korea …” I’m American! So, you think my people invaded you? You’re North Korean, eh? hehe, nah…. I presume you thought, my opinions made me Chinese?

    Anyhow, your comments are again downright ignorant. Your racial slurs about the Chinese make you just as bad as you claim the Chinese to be…It is good that most people don’t think like that because we’d all be slitting one another’s throats.

    If you want to blame anyone for the Chinese killing your people in the war, perhaps you should look at the Americans, my people? We are the reason for the Chinese entering the war. They were terrified of the US using Korea as a platform for coming in to topple the newly communist government. Domino theory was picking up ground amongst western scholars of the time and it was feared the US would use force to stop the spread of communism, as it actually did in several failed cases. Further, tensions were high with regard to Taiwan at the time and there were feelings war would only be a matter of time between the US and China because of it… So, yeah! The Chinese were threatened and felt the need to preemptively protect their sovereignty.

    I also presume then that you have a bitter taste towards the Japanese? For they did much worse to your people than the Chinese ever did. We all know what horrible people the Japanese are today don’t we…”wink” “wink” I even presume then I should loath the British for the way they treated my ancestors as well as most Americans, even though I am American, for Slaughtering my Cherokee ancestors as well? You see, people do not change over time, their mindsets don’t evolve…It’s amazing that once people gain education, better economic means, and don’t have to worry about whether or not they will have food on the table, they don’t contribute to developing a more peaceful prosperous society. And isn’t it funny how my thinking and beliefs are exactly the same as my father’s, grandfather’s, and even great grandfather’s??? Once an ethnic group or leaders of a past time, does something atrocious, it should stay with them for eternity despite how it is evident they have evolved, right? I guess then we should all hate the Germans, British, Americans, Dutch, Japanese, and the list goes on…For despite everything bad these groups have done in history, it should stick with them because none of them have changed.

  • http://www.jdlink.co.kr Linkd

    Firstly, do you have any idea who China’s #1 trading partner is? It’s South Korea.

    China is Korea’s largest trading partner, but the reverse is not true. China’s largest trading partner alternates between the US and the EU, and if you split the EU into individual countries, you still end up with Korea being around #6 or #7 for bilateral with China. As far as interdependence goes, both are far more dependent on Western consumers than they are on each other. Although Korea now send more exports to China than to any other country, the main driver of the global supply and manufacturing chain is Western consumers. Much of the export activity based in China can be quickly relocated to Vietnam or India or anywhere else that can match China’s combination of low manufacturing costs and fairly decent logistics & infrastructure.

    Granted, if the Western consumer is slow in recovering (say, 2 years or more), then it will indeed be beneficial for the Asian bloc to find ways of providing goods and services to each other for domestic consumption. But that will take quite an attitude adjustment, because someone would have to accept the trade deficit while someone else logged a trade surplus, and Asians are addicted to trade surpluses. A country cannot run a consistent trade deficit without issuing debt. And that is something that can have some unnerving consequences, as we have been seeing unfold for the past year in Wall Street and London.

  • theotherkorean

    According to material submitted to the National Assembly late last year by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the North and South Korean militaries do not compare. The Joint Chiefs noted that North Korean tanks have weak night fighting capabilities, their armored vehicles cannot cross rivers and their field guns are inaccurate.

    In the past, it was ohhh the North Koreans are stronger than us, we need to buy more you know whats, we need the USFK here, etc. Now the JSC are saying that the South Korea military is better than the North Korean military. Interesting change in attitude by the S.Korean military.

  • Kapok Crusader

    Do you think, from time to time, such reports are adjusted to fit the general political climate?

  • Pingback: SeoulPodcast » Blog Archive » SeoulPodcast #60: Did You Know… Pimatgol?

  • es1982

    Scotty: . . . and given my confrontational nature, I got in a lot of stand-offs with a lot of Korean males. Every man-jack of them backed off. I always found that the Korean national character was to appear and act aggresively, but to back off the second that aggression was reciprocated. They’re all just hair and clothes.

    And I would be the one that got beat up, more than likely. Most Korean dudes are trained killers. They just back down very easily, which is lucky for me, but perhaps not for them.

    This is very interesting. You recognize that they have the training and the ability to kill; and that you “would be the one that got beat up.”

    Ponder for a moment what would happen to an Asian guy in Western Europe (especially Scotland?), North America, or Australia, if he were as confrontational as you confess to being.

    Then ponder again why you never got the s_ _ t kicked of you. I don’t think it’s because “They’re all just hair and clothes,” or that there’s some weakness in “the Korean national character”

  • es1982

    non korean: I’ve lived in South Korea for over 10 years now. While I have great respect for the professional soldiers of the ROK to do their duty and defend the ROK to the best of their abilities, the same can’t be said about the average male that is counted in those ROK assets. When I ask Korean males age 20-40 what they would do if North Korea attacked, 90% of them say they would run. Let’s just say it is an ample sample size of over a thousand males. And I’m fairly sure that a decent portion who said they would stay and fight, would run when it came down to it. You have to have the will to win and I don’t see that in South Korea. History is littered with examples. I do not want to infer that in some way Koream men are cowardly. I’m sure all of them would be looking after their families. I can only infer that most don’t see the logic that by protecting the country, they would protect their family.

    I hope that my theory is never tested, but I think that if a shooting war on the peninsula were to break out again, the majority of the 90% who told you that “they would run,” would realize what’s at stake, and fight for the freedoms and liberties that they have, such as they are.

    You say that “History is littered with examples.” I wonder what history you’ve been reading? My understanding is that the South Korean soldiers showed quite credibly that they had the will to fight in 1950 – 1953. And, btw, did you ever hear about which country’s armed forces the North Vietnamese feared the most? Hint: it wasn’t the Americans.

    Marmot’s Note: North Korea has 1.02 million troops. South Korea has 650,000 troops.

    These stats do not take into account the fact that Korean men remain in the ‘Active Reserves’ for five years after they have completed their 26 months of military duty. They are required to their units a couple of times a year for drills, shooting practice, etc. They remain in another phase of reserve duty for several years after that. As well, 18 – 21 year olds who have not yet been conscripted, have already undergone some military training.

    All of these men in the Reserves must be registered with the appropriate local offices. Every time they have a change of address, they must notify the appropriate authorities. The army knows where they are. In short, the ROK can call up 2 – 3 million more men on short notice. If a shooting war were to break out, these men would not be allowed to “run.” They would be rounded up and pressed into active duty.

  • es1982

    baduk: I have legimate reason to hate the Chinese. Some of my relatives died fighting fuckers during the Korean war.

    Some of my wife’s relatives died in the war, too. Her father’s first wife and a baby were killed when their house in Seoul took a direct hit from some ordnance or bomb. I don’t see her or any of her relatives carrying on a campaign of hatred, though.

    I just heard an interview with the authors of this book.
    http://www.amazon.com/Tears-Darkness-Story-Bataan-Aftermath/dp/0374272603
    In it they detail the horrors of war in unprecedented detail. They also investigate how the survivors were able to live “normal lives” after the war was over. One of the most important points they make is that “hatred is corrosive.” You cannot live a productive life, you cannot be ‘forward looking’ if you allow hatred to consume you.

    I am reminded of one of the justifications the Bosnians had for the “ethnic cleansing” (mass murder and genocide) that they carried out in the 1990’s. Some were quoted saying things like:

    ‘We have to kill our them now (neighbors they had been living side by side with for generations), because their people committed atrocities against our people back in the 1500’s!’

    I ask you, When is it going to end? Harboring hatred more than 50 years after the fact for things that happened before you were even born in not the answer.

  • contradictions

    Economic interdependence is NOT enough to prevent wars, as we’ve seen in WW1, WW2, etc. While the retort that “we’re more economically interconnected than ever before” is often used, that’s what they said before both WW’s as well as many other wars. The economic aspect of war (and causes of wars) is important, but can be very one dimensional if you push it too far.
    I think this peace-and-love vision that wood seems to be pushing is a nice thought, but is in fact naive. If push comes to shove, I believe China will actively help NK against SK, Japan, US, etc. Why? Because I think hegemony in Asia/Pacific is China’s ultimate goal.
    China is the largest supplier of resources to NK. Why won’t China use this leverage more extensively to reign in NK’s actions? Well, the most common answer is: to keep NK as a proxy against the US. But why?
    China has plans to build carrier fleets by 2020. Why? To make sure the US won’t attack China? If economic interdependence is paramount, then the US (which is heavily indebted to China) will never attack China, right? Yet, China continues to spend billions (recent estimates range between $80~120 Billion) every year to modernize. Why? This is what the US, Japan, SK, etc are talking about when they say that China needs to “make its intentions clear”.
    Well, to me, their intentions are obvious. They are trying to achieve hegemony in asia by pushing US forces out of the Pacific. Why else would they use NK as a proxy against the West. Why else would they spend ~$100Billion every year on their military? Why else would they use the UN to protect regimes like NK and Iran which have atrocious human rights records? China’s professions of a “peaceful rise” are, in my view, nothing but a foil to cover for the true intentions. If they succeed, this would be horrendous to China’s neighbors. Imagine SK, Japan, and Taiwan being treated by China the same way Tibet is being treated.
    SK, Japan, and the US must confront these regimes forcefully, and make it clear that we won’t allow Communist regimes, that so flamboyantly violate human rights, to destabilize northeast asia or gain hegemony over it. Appeasement never works, and true peace will only come when we fight against those that violate human dignity.

  • http://koreanamerican431.blogspot.com/ baduk

    es1982,

    China had choice not to enter the war. Actually, it had no good reason to enter the Korean War.

    However, it did. Intentionally. China is not pulled into the war. It INTENTIONALLY entered the war.

    China will do it again. The Chinese Fuckers are eager to rule the Asia again, as it did for centuries leading up to 1900s.

    The fuckers are all eager to lean on its neighbors.

    The fuckers.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    I know you might not be able to tell from Baduk’s comments because he’s so subtle about it, but he has issue with the Chinese. I think he doesn’t trust them very much.

  • maotai

    contradictions

    Views from the other side of the pond…

    Reasons why China will not let NK to collapse…
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/12/opinion/12iht-edlankov.html?_r=1
    http://star.com.jo/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15767&Itemid=76

    What China spends on defense is nothing compared to the US. In fact the US outspends almost all others combined.
    http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending
    http://www.economist.com/daily/chartgallery/displayStory.cfm?story_id=13808801
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8086117.stm

  • maotai

    Robert

    I have met Chinese who feel the same way about the Japanese. In fact, one of them said that should a war starts with the US, China’s first action should be the total destruction of Japan by nuclear bombs.

    There are also Chinese who have cite attrocities committed by Korean conscripts with the Japanese forces occupying China.

    So there are plenty of nutcases everywhere!

  • es1982

    baduk: China had choice not to enter the war. Actually, it had no good reason to enter the Korean War.
    However, it did. Intentionally. China is not pulled into the war. It INTENTIONALLY entered the war.

    I guess the North Koreans could probably say the same thing about the US participation in the war.

    Come to think of it, that’s probably exactly what they’ve been thinking, and saying, ever since 1953. Just think, a whole country fueled by hatred of the US for the past 56 years, and counting.

    That explains how the Kim dynasty has been able to survive all these years. Of course, we can all see how living on hatred has worked out for them. They’ve sure done well in advancing the cause of “the workers’ paradise.” Yes-sir-ee, They’re a model of what a forward looking nation can become as they lead the rest of the world into the 21st century.

  • contradictions

    maotai,

    >Views from the other side of the pond…
    Which side of the pond is that?

    >Reasons why China will not let NK to collapse…
    I’m aware of the argument that China doesn’t want NK to collapse because of the threat of millions of refugees crossing its borders. But my question is, how is that different from what they have now? Regardless of whether NK collapses or not, China:
    1. Can, have, and will close its borders with NK to prevent these refugees from crossing.
    2. Even now, North Koreans are trying to escape into China for a better life. But the Chinese are pretty darn good at controlling that inflow.
    3. Why won’t China try to improve the lives of North Koreans through investments and tell the Kim Jong Il to open up markets so these refugees won’t have to cross the border for a better life? Again, China is the largest supplier of resources to NK. But they won’t use this leverage to either reign in Kim’s dangerous actions or to improve the lives of North Koreans. Why?

    >What China spends on defense is nothing compared to the US. In fact the US outspends >almost all others combined.
    As for US defense spending (US: ~$650B compared to China:~$100B. The US, by the way, spends far more than the next 10 nations combined), so what? My point is that US hegemony is far better than Chinese hegemony to the stability of Asia. The US spends so much money on defense so they can protect the sea lanes and their allies from nations that so blatantly violate human rights. This fact has enabled the prosperity of asia (and much of the world) over the last half century. Imagine what the world would be like if China or the USSR had hegemony in the world instead of the US. Do you really want your country to look like Tibet, NK, or the eastern European nations during the cold war? I think not.
    You point out the enormity of US defense spending as if that justifies Chinese defense spending, but you ignore the nature of their defense policy. US defense policy enables other nations to prosper under their security umbrella through free trade (even if that free trade results in huge current account deficits for the US, because, fair is fair when it comes to market competition). China? Well, we don’t know, because they won’t make their intentions clear about why they spend so much on their military. Are they preparing to go to war? If so, with whom? If not, then what’s all the military spending for? If they achieve hegemony over East Asia, will the Chinese allow for free trade that benefits all nations even if some elements of that free trade isn’t beneficial to China?

  • Scotty

    es1982
    If koreans behaved the way they do (staring, shoving, driving at people) on Sauchiehall Street, they would surely get the shite kicked out of them. That’s fucked up. But so it goes.
    I got confrontational and almost always hated myself for it but you can’t change hardwired Celtic traits, just like the Koreans can’t change.
    Like they can’t change the bullying culture in their country. Too many people would have their applecart upset. And like all good bullies they back down when read. Anyone who says that isn’t the case is either mad or a liar.

  • maotai

    contradictions

    sorry for the late response… quarter end sales closure. one needs to have a paying job. 50 cents a post just isn’t enough! LOL

    That China has about 250,000 illegal NK immigrants, speaks volumes about the effectiveness of their border control. Contrary to popular thinking, Chinese authorities usually leave these immigrants alone. Mass arrests were done when South Korean Christian organizations carried out media grabbing events to pressurize the Chinese government in officially granting refugee status and passage to these immigrants. Once these organizations realized that the Chinese would play along with their hardball tactics with mass arrests, the organizations have largely abandon this strategy. Now the “people smuggling” continues without the hype and the Chinese pretty much leave them alone as such.

    As for NK, as long as there is no possibility of US forces amassing against the Chinese border, China, I think would be quite alright with the idea of Korean reunification. This is quite in line with their aspirations of the reunification of Taiwan. However, the US, SK and Japan also have their concerns with regards to a unified Korea at this time.

    Chinese defense spending… how transparent is US’s military spending? how true are the US’s stated intentions? As an Asian I see plenty of US hegemony in our recent past and current history. I know that as a combination of nations in the region, we can effectively block potential Chinese hegemony but with the amount of US military spending in Asia alone, we are truly in the sphere of US military “protection”.

    You say that the US protects the sea lanes of their allies, but in nation-speak, the US protects its own interests. Just so happens, its interests calls for safe passages for its allies as well. The Chinese, if they were able to do so, would protect their allies too ;)

  • contradictions

    >quarter end sales closure. one needs to have a paying job. 50 cents a post just isn’t enough! LOL
    Wow…you in advertising or something?

    Sure, China may have an immigration problem, but the reality is that if war breaks out, they can amass a large force along the border to stop (or at least severely curtail) the inflow. And this still doesn’t address the fact that China refuses to push NK towards political and economic liberalization so that North Koreans won’t have to escape to China for a better life. Why? The answer is (at least as I see it) that China wishes to use NK as a proxy, and this immigration problem is nothing more than an excuse.

    US militray spending is VERY transparent (at least compared to China, it’s no comparison). The numbers are published every year, with congressional oversight (to the point that fiscal hawks (private, non-government organizations) often complain about its massive spending).

    >how true are the US’s stated intentions?
    US intentions? You don’t think US intentions are clear? US defense policy in Asia has essentially been the same since WWII (yes, it did change a bit after the end of the Cold War). That is:
    1. Protect the sea lanes to allow for free trade.
    2. Provide a security umbrella to its allies (by the way, why does the US provide a security umbrella to those nations that have a good human rights record, while China props up nations like NK?)
    Has the US ever reneged on these commitments? Didn’t the US protect SK during the Korean War? Didn’t (and doesn’t) the US provide implicit security commitments to Taiwan? Doesn’t the US provide security to Japan? The answer to all of the above is “yes”.

    >we are truly in the sphere of US military “protection”.
    So? This has been a great thing for Asia over the past 50 years.

    >You say that the US protects the sea lanes of their allies, but in nation-speak, the US >protects its own interests. Just so happens, its interests calls for safe passages for its >allies as well. The Chinese, if they were able to do so, would protect their allies too
    And who are China’s allies? NK? How will China treat nations that don’t wish to be under Chinese hegemony? Will it treat these nations like Tibet?
    I’ll repeat this again. US hegemony is better to Asia than Chinese hegemony (when you look at each’s human rights records and openness). Yes, US hegemony has been very advantageous to US interests. But the US accomplished this by making sure that the same US hegemony is ALSO ADVANTAGEOUS TO ITS ALLIES. Chinese foreign (and economic policy) is zero-sum (that is, China prospers AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHER NATIONS (even its supposed allies). Again, this is true in its foreign policy (Tibet, NK), and in its economic policy (currency manipulation to sustain a large current account surplus).

  • maotai

    contradictions

    How about US’s past and some still current support of dictatorial repressive regimes in the Middle East? South America? Central Asia? Africa?

    Hegemony and the Great Game which the old European powers started and so ably learned by the US and of course China, a rising power plays as well.

    This article explains more eloquently than I can ever, the China/ NK relationship;
    http://irap.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/lcm023?ijkey=QzwAzmccgKRKKvy&keytype=ref

    On US interests and impact it has on others (also known as collateral damage);
    http://www.greece.org/cyprus/Takism5.htm
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10242
    There are more examples, Google is a great for sniffing out stuff not usually found in western media.

    My point is that US hegemony is only better if you benefit from it. I can equally argue that as an Asian Chinese hegemony may be better though I would prefer none.

  • contradictions

    maotai

    >How about US’s past and some still current support of dictatorial repressive regimes in >the Middle East? South America? Central Asia? Africa?
    You mean places like Saudi Arabia? Egypt? Does the US have leverage over these nations? No. In fact, these oil producing nations have the US by the balls. Yet, the US still works to foster respect for human right in these places. How about China? What does NK have that China doesn’t? Nothing. If you want to talke about the Great Game, then why can’t China use its leverage (and it is a CONSIDERABLE leverage) to change NK? If the North Koreans misbehave, threaten to cut off all aid, and hold off aid until they start working on political and economic liberalization. Why won’t China do this? Because it’s afraid of instability? That’s BS. Again, if NK liberalizes its system and work to give their people a chance to achieve a better life, then you won’t have to worry about a collapse.

    >Hegemony and the Great Game which the old European powers started and so ably >learned by the US and of course China, a rising power plays as well.
    Of course. I’m not denying China’s right to engage in power politics. I’m merely stating that Chinese hegemony would be destabilizing to Asia, and that it would be horrific to its neighbors. But if China uses a nation like NK as a proxy, there’s no reason for China’s neighbors to trust China’s intentions (that is, afterall, a result of playing this Great Game).

    >There are more examples, Google is a great for sniffing out stuff not usually found in >western media.
    It’s interesting how you’re picking and choosing the worst aspects of a nation (in this case, the US), to deflect from today’s problems seen in China’s human rights records:
    see link:
    http://www.christusrex.org/www1/sdc/hr_facts.html
    Yes, the US has done many things (including the violation of human rights), but are you suggesting this justifies China’s actions? Are you suggesting that because the US has its flaws, that it shouldn’t speak out against China’s (and NK’s) human rights violations? If not, then I really don’t see the point of your links.

    >My point is that US hegemony is only better if you benefit from it. I can equally argue >that as an Asian Chinese hegemony may be better though I would prefer none.
    Was this your point in posting the above links?
    I’m not sure which part of Asia you’re from, but US hegemony has benefited MOST of the world in one crucial aspect: it prevented the USSR from achieving hegemony over the world (and no, I guess this didn’t benefit the USSR).
    Your above post is interesting in many respects:
    1. Is a world where no nation has hegemony your ideal? Between multipolarity and hegemonic stability, would you really choose the former? I guess this is where we would fundamentally disagree, but hegemony by a benevolent hegemon, in my view, is significantly preferable to an unstable world governed by a doctrine of balance of power. We both know how it ended the last time we played everyone’s favorite game of “balance of power”.And this time, many nations will be playing “balance of power” with nuclear weapons up their sleeves.
    2. “Chinese hegemony may be better”? I think there’s a clear lack of imagination on your part when you wrote this comment. Looking at how China treats its own people and its neighbors (again, Tibet, NK, Taiwan), I think Chinese hegemony would be horrific, and will only benefit China.

    As an Asian living in the US, I would not want to see a world where China achieves hegemony over Asia (then again, I can just live in the US for the rest of my life, so this isn’t much of an inconvenience in a personal sense:) ).

  • snow

    “I would not want to see a world where China achieves hegemony over Asia”

    Amen to that. That would be a disaster for all involved, except maybe the CCP.

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  • China

    I am from China.

    Stalin commanded China to aid North Korea, otherwise he wouldn’t accept China as a member of the socialist camp. China was very poor and weak in that time. China needed support from the Soviet Union. So China did not have choice .

    Mao’s eldest son died and more than 400,000 Chinese soilders died in that war. China and US both suffered heavy losses because of the Soviet Union.

    In a word, US was fooled by the Soviet Union in northeast Asia in that time.

    I think China won’t enter the war if a war break out in Korea peninsula again.

    Will anyone response me in this forum? This forum seems a little old.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    #50 are6729 “To Scotty: consume drano cretin.”

    You roused a thread 2 1/2 years dead to talk weak smack to someone who posted 3 years ago?

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    It was a robot troll. Dealt with.

  • a111

    Vietnam is more capable than North Korea without use of Nuclear weapons

  • Maria

    I read all of the comments. I was thoroughly entertained. And shook-ed up.