North Korea warned the United States that it would respond to “reckless acts of aggression” after a carrier battle group led by the 97,000-ton USS Carl Vinson was deployed to the Korean peninsula. The aircraft carrier is being escorted by a guided-missile cruiser and two destroyers equipped with Aegis technology capable of shooting down any future North Korean test missiles.
Is North Korea’s nuclear program going to be next? That’s the question many experts are asking themselves after American cruise missiles struck a Syrian airbase last week. If the U.S. does carry out a pre-emptive strike, Pyongyang is likely to launch a substantial military retaliation against the south. If that nightmare does one day come to pass, how well equipped is the South Korean military to repel an offensive from the North?
The North Korean military has substianally more active (and reserve) troops than the South, though large numbers of its soldiers are underpaid and malnourished. The North also has outdated equipment and its airforce is known to still use 1950 Korean War-era MIG-15 fighters for training purposes. The South Korean military on the other hand boasts state of the art technology including cutting-edge tanks, warplanes and attack helicopters. However, Seoul is only 35 miles from the DMZ and due to North’s superority in artillery, it’s highly likely that the South Korean capital would suffer massive damage in a war. Even if the South repelled an invasion, success would come with substantial military and civilian casualties.