South Korea

Capable Now, Questions for the Future

Published in: A Hard Look at Hard Power: Assessing the Defense Capabilities of Key US Allies and Security Partners, Chapter 9, pages 255–291 (October 2020)

Posted on RAND.org on November 03, 2020

by Bruce W. Bennett

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South Korea, formally the Republic of Korea (ROK), exists in a highly militarized region. South Korea's neighbor, North Korea, formally the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, invaded the South in 1950 and has posed continuing military threats ever since. But China has also posed a threat at times, and the country will most likely continue to do so. Moreover, especially recently, some in the ROK perceive a threat from Japan. This chapter focuses on the North Korean threat and only briefly discusses the Chinese and Japanese threats, which are not currently direct military challenges for the Republic of Korea.

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