This report assesses the sociopolitical capabilities of South and North Korea to maintain their military competition through the 1980s. It discusses the various factors making for stability and instability in both Koreas at the present time, projects these factors into the near-term future, and estimates the effects of possible increases in defense efforts. Finally, it examines the sociopolitical effects of possible changes in the military posture of the Republic of Korea. It finds that any increase in the South Korean defense effort could further complicate the dilemma facing the North regarding resource allocation between defense and the economy. It might force a reconsideration of the North's highly belligerent military posture or provoke consideration of a preemptive attack.
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