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New Market Study Published: South Korea Defence & Security Report Q4 2012

New Defense research report from Business Monitor International is now available from Fast Market Research


Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/02/2013 -- The South Korea Defence and Security Report examines the country's strategic position in the North East Asian region and the wider world. It provides an overview of the contemporary geopolitical challenges facing the country, and the challenges it may face in the future.

The report examines the trends occurring in the country's current and future defence procurement, and the order of battle across its armed forces. The intention is to provide a clear and concise discussion of these issues. The report's general conclusion is that the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and the succession of his son, Kim Jong Un, has done little to alter the security dynamic on the Korean peninsula. As a result, Seoul will continue to invest heavily in modern military equipment, and also remain a committed US ally.

However, Seoul faces some tricky policy choices, as it attempts to manage minor tensions in its relationship with the US and increasingly significant tensions in its relations with Japan. Moreover, a new president, due to be elected in December 2012, will have to plot a new policy course as regards North Korea. Though the conservatives appear set to win another term, the hard-line policy of the outgoing leader Lee Myung-bak is not felt to have been productive. As a result, the next president is likely to favour increased engagement, though this could be problematic if Pyongyang takes any belligerent or provocative measures.

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Indeed, at the time of writing in late August, the North Korea regime appeared close to testing a third nuclear bomb. It has also built new infrastructure at its nuclear facility at Yongbyon and is obtaining enough nuclear material, according to some estimates, to have up to 48 nuclear warheads by 2016. This worsening threat profile will make it very difficult for South Korea's new president to pursue a consistent policy of engagement unless the North offers something in return. But at this point Kim Jong Un remains an unknown quantity. If anything, the need for him to prove himself as a military leader will make Pyongyang favour provocation over accommodation.

Over the last quarter BMI has revised the following forecasts/views:

- The crisis in Japan-South Korea relations is discussed in detail. The problems appear to have been largely the making of President Lee Myung-bak, who first mishandled an attempt to sign an intelligence-sharing deal with Tokyo, and then made a highly provocative visit to a disputed island claimed by both Tokyo and Seoul. These developments also sit badly with Washington, which had been hoping to pull its regional allies together to help collectively meet new threats.
- The Korean defence industry continued its impressive performance, securing an order for 12 T/A-50 trainer/fighter aircraft from the Philippines, and also formalising an order from Indonesia for three submarines.

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