Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • The rogue nation of North Korea is one of the world's most secretive societies

  • Ruled by a military dictatorship since it was formed in 1948

  • it often describes itself as a “self-reliantsocialist state with a cult of personality around its leader, Kim Jong-un

  • The country is technically still at war with its southern neighbour

  • since the Korean War armistice was agreed in 1953

  • It has had a frosty relationship with the West ever since

  • particularly over its continued development of nuclear weapons

  • So just how strong is North Korea's military?

  • North Korea's official title is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

  • When it comes to sheer numbers, the country's military is very impressive

  • 1.2 million service members, or 5% of the North Korea's population, serve on active duty

  • with another 800,000 personnel in reserve

  • making it the fourth-largest army in the world behind China, India and the United States

  • It also dwarfs its neighbour, with roughly twice as many troops as South Korea

  • Experts believe North Korea's military spend could be as much as 24% of the country's national income

  • Pyongyang also has 4,000 battle tanks and 2,500 armored personnel carriers

  • The country's navy is a lot smaller, with around 800 vessels

  • These comprise 430 frigates and patrol vessels and around 70 submarines

  • In the skies, North Korea has 820 combat aircraft

  • including MiG-23 and MiG-29 fighters and Su-25 ground attack aircraft

  • The country has 21,000 artillery pieces

  • many of which are believed to be targeted on South Korea's capital, Seoul

  • While their armed forces might be immense, their weapons and equipment are largely obsolete

  • North Korea's diplomatic and economic isolation has led to their military capabilities to decline

  • Their troops are also poorly fed

  • with defectors often speaking of the hunger they suffered during their military service

  • This imbalance between North Korea and its rivals

  • is one of the main reasons why the rogue state has built its own nuclear arsenal

  • - to serve as a strong deterrent against invasion

  • in the last decade the country has progressed from having a handful of crude atomic bombs

  • to up to 20 nuclear warheads

  • capable of being loaded on short and medium range missiles

  • The country's short-range Hwasong-5 and 6 missiles can reach targets throughout South Korea

  • while its medium-range Nodong missiles could strike Japan

  • In 2017 North Korea tested its largest nuclear device to date

  • as well as demonstrating that its intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs,

  • could now potentially strike the mainland of the United States

  • The country has also pursued advanced cyber warfare capabilities so that in the event of war with the South

  • it could attack critical infrastructure and command-and-control networks

  • The country's cyber capabilities were first recognized in the 2014 Sony Pictures hack

  • allegedly perpetrated by North Korea in response to the studio's comedy movie The Interview

  • about a plot to assassinate Kim Jong-un

  • The U.S. also believes North Korea was behind the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack

  • that targeted computers running Microsoft Windows

  • With the election of Donald Trump,

  • tensions between North Korea and the United States initially escalated further

  • with the president mocking Kim Jong-un asrocket man

  • and threatening the rogue state withfire and furyif it endangered the U.S.

  • But 2018 saw a remarkable change in diplomacy between North Korea and the West

  • First, North and South Korea marched together during the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang

  • Then, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un agreed to talks with a summit

  • held in Singapore between the two nations in June

  • The leaders agreed to work towards denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,

  • but there were few details over what exactly that would entail

  • North Korea has not carried out nuclear tests for more than a year,

  • while the U.S. has not taken part in major joint exercises with South Korea

  • But a lack of nuclear disarmament by North Korea has led to tensions rising again

  • The U.S. wants to see the country getting rid of its nuclear weapons

  • before it eases economic pressure

  • but Kim Jong-un has warned that he may change his approach

  • if Washington persists with sanctions

  • Whether continued dialogue can lead to a nuclear free Korea remains to be seen

  • While there is a real opportunity to forever improve relations between North Korea and the West,

  • the secretive nature of Kim Jong-un's totalitarian state

  • means it is hard to know whether a potentially catastrophic conflict could still be on the horizon

The rogue nation of North Korea is one of the world's most secretive societies

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B2 H-INT US korea north korea north nuclear jong kim jong

How Strong Is North Korea's Military?

  • 31 1
    Seina   posted on 2020/09/07
Video vocabulary