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Republic of Korea
 
 
 

Background

The geostrategic position of the Republic of Korea is difficult because of the proximity to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (or North Korea), which is may be fast approaching ballistic missile program readiness – as well as developing a weapons of mass destruction program.

 

The Republic of Korea is to a great extent dependent on the US security guarantees. In recent years, it has relied on the UN Security Counsel to help reign in the dictatorship to the North. China has recently urged North Korea to disengage in the programs alleged to be building nuclear bomb-carrying ballistic missiles.

 

South Korea elected not to join the US-led global missile defense system, but has in the meantime developed a defense entity similar to the MDA from the United States and the MDC from the United Kingdom.

 

Current Developments

Because of the rising threat from Democratic People’s Republic of Korea the country expressed its interest in joining the US missile defense shield. It is also interested in research and development of different missile defense related technologies of the US. The United States has become increasingly involved in in the defense of South Korea and of any threat North Korea might present from the West, moving battleships with missile defense technology towards Guam and other areas in the Pacific.

 

North Korea’s successful missile launch in December of 2012, along with perceived strategic movements and placement of offensive missile technology, has heightened the sense of urgency in South Korea.

 

Capabilities

The Republic of Korea launched its first  Aegis class destroyer last year and is expected to deploy total of three in the coming years. However economic crises can delay the planned operational capacity dates. The government also proceeds with a contract to buy 48 PAC-2 missiles from Germany and first deliveries were already made.

 

The defense systems in the effective area include THAAD, Patriot and Aegis. Though South Korea does not have all of these under their possession, the United States systems in the area are able to help South Korea defend itself.  

 




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