Even if current international efforts to eliminate North Korea’s growing arsenal of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles succeed, the Republic of South Korea (ROK) will face a massive conventional threat from across the demilitarized zone. If these efforts are unsuccessful, the conventional threat will become even more problematic. The ROK government recognizes the need to shore up its conventional defenses regardless of the outcome of efforts to denuclearize the DPRK. This was a central topic of discussion between Presidents Moon and Trump during the latter’s recent visit to South Korea. Three areas that require priority investment are missile defense, battlefield C4ISR and ASW. I discuss these in greater detail for The National Interest here.
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