North Vs South Korea: Who will win if a war breaks out?


It was on June 25, 1950, that the most dreaded war in the history of humankind between North Korea and South Korea broke out. The war happened when North Korea, with the support of China and erstwhile Soviet Union (USSR), invaded South Korea, which was supported by the United States.

The war lasted for nearly three years, resulting in the death of more than 5 million people, and as an aftermath, the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) was drawn across the border of these countries.

Now, the Korean peninsula is once again on the verge of a war, as North Korea led by their supreme leader Kim Jong-un is continuously provoking the world by conducting regular tests of Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Most of the world countries except China are now standing behind South Korea and their primary advantage is the support offered by the United States.

Here's an in-depth analysis of the military forces of these countries to address the most-sought-after query as to 'who will win' if a war breaks out in the near future.

North Korea Vs South Korea: Military Strength

North Korea is a country which has a population of around 25 million. Out of this, the country has nearly 2 million active military personnel and 600,000 reserves. Kim Jong-un's regime also has six million paramilitary members, which makes the total military strength stretchable to more than seven million, the largest military force in the world. But, this count revealed by the North Korean state media looks exaggerated as more than a quarter of their population seems to be working for their armed forces.

On the other hand, the number of armed personnel in South Korea is comparatively less when compared to Pyongyang. As of now, South Korea has more than 50 million population, and out of this, more than 700,000 members are active military personnel, while they have a mammoth reserve military force exceeding 3 million.

In a year, North Korea spends more than US$10 billion for their military, while South Korea spends four times more at about US$ 40 billion.

Weapons and nuclear warheads

This is one area where North Korea literally overpowers South Korea. For the past few years, North Korea has been continuously conducting nuclear tests, and as per latest updates, the country has a minimum of 10 nuclear heads in their arsenal. A few weeks ago, they tested the Huasong-15, the Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile which is capable of hitting any area in the US mainland with precision. In their arsenal, they have 6,000 tanks and 4,000 armored vehicles, along with 4,200 towed artillery and 2,300 self-propelled guns.

Even though South Korea has mastered the technique of developing nuclear warheads, they have not tested any. The country has 2,500 tanks, 5,300 towed artillery, 1,900 self-propelled guns, and more than 2,500 armored fighting vehicles.

The strength of South Korean Air Force is much superior to North Korea, as they recently bought F-15 fighting falcons and F-16 strike eagles. The country also has plans to buy the most powerful F-35, world's most modern fighter aircraft.

The support of world countries

North Korea is considered a "rogue" nation by the US and its allies and this will go against them if a war breaks out. Even China may hesitate to support them during the time of war, as it will bring hardship and human loss to their own nation as the entire world is standing against them.

On the other hand, South Korea is a strong ally of the United States, and they have good relationships with world powers like Japan, Australia, India, Russia and the United Kingdom.

This article was first published on December 21, 2017