Republic of Korea's Counter-asymmetric Strategy: Lessons from ROKS Cheonan and Yeonpyeong Island   [open pdf - 466KB]

"Since its provocations against Yeonpyeong Island on 23 November 2010, North Korea's asymmetric threats have emerged as one of the most momentous security issues for the Republic of Korea (ROK). After bitter defeats in the First and Second Yeonpyeong Sea Battles, as well as in the Daechung Sea Battle of November 2009, North Korea recognized its disadvantage in symmetric surface-ship provocations. It resorted instead to new and unexpected tactics, utilizing its latest small submarine to torpedo ROKS 'Cheonan' on 26 March 2010. Considered to be the North's severest military provocation since the Korean War armistice, the sinking of ROKS 'Cheonan' gravely shocked every aspect of Korean society--political, diplomatic, psychological, and military--and caused deep ripples across the range of Northeast Asian security. […] The problem that besets the Korean Peninsula lies in the unavoidable fact that the ROK's vulnerability has increased as North Korea's asymmetric threat has expanded and diversified. The current threat is a conventional weapon--based war capability that includes chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) weapons, long-range artillery (LRA), special operations units, and underground tunnels. However, it is rapidly expanding to one of nuclear and high-technology weaponry (e.g., cyberwarfare, electronic warfare, hovercraft, and air-cushion stealth warships). When these separate asymmetric assets are combined, the North's capabilities and military options will be greatly strengthened. They will pose a serious threat to the ROK military, because they can be used both as core means of attack during wartime and for localized provocations in peacetime."

2011 Duk-Ki Kim
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Naval War College Review: http://www.usnwc.edu/Publications/Naval-War-College-Review.aspx
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Naval War College Review (Winter 2012), v. 65 no. 1, p. 55-74
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