North Korea’s forces now number more than 200,000 men, an increase of 20,000 compared to 2008, the South Korean Ministry of Defense said on Dec. 30 in its biennial white paper.
The paper also said that the North now has 4,100 tanks, 200 more than 2008, and has constantly been developing new submarine models as well as ballistic missiles and chemical warfare agents to upgrade its capabilities in asymmetric warfare.
“We have explained overall South Korean defense policy in detail regarding security conditions including North Korean threat, basis for defense policy, omnidirectional military combat readiness, period adjustment to the wartime operational command transition and defense reform,” said Chang Gwang-il, deputy minister for policy at the ministry. “As the military unveils more transparent defense to the public, we expect that people can gain deep understanding and trust toward the military.”
The white paper said that North Korean special forces could infiltrate rear region of South Korea and attack major targets, assassinate key figures and stir the region.
The number of North Korean Special Operations troops rose to 180,000 in 2008 from 120,000 in 2006, the paper said. It also said most of tanks among additional 200 are believed to be used weapons.
The paper clearly stated that the North Korean regime and its military are enemies of South Korea as long as they keep on practicing provocations and threats like the sinking of Cheonan and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island.
Related to defense reform, the paper included specific way of reforming defense structure and defense operational system to an advanced level in order to build 21-century advanced military capabilities.
In addition, the white paper made clear that Dokdo Island is undeniably belongs to South Korean territory by showing photos and maps related to the island.
The paper is the second one to be released in Lee Myung-bak administration and it is the 19th paper since it was first published in 1967. It will be distributed to the National Assembly, media institutions, government offices, educational institutions and libraries across the nation to make people understand the reality of national defense.
The whole context of the paper will also be updated online on the Defense Ministry homepage at www.mnd.go.kr.