South Korea’s mega defense plan  

‘Thanks to China’, the entire world is gripped by Coronavirus pandemic. In a very sly manner, China has used the crisis to lay claims or perform acts of aggression against most of its neighbours be it Tajikistan, the Philippines, India, Bhutan, Taiwan, etc. They call it ‘Salami Slicing Strategy’. Moreover, China has even taken to hostility in the disputed South China Sea.  

Chinese President Xi Jinping with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

When it comes to South Korea, along with China, it is required to face North Korea led by a dictator who is infamously called the ‘rocketman’ and known for his whimsicality.  

Alarmed with this situation, South Korea has recently taken to a bold ‘defense plan for 2021-25’. The plan, worth $250 billion, caters to all the three service wings of army, navy and air force.  

Under the plan, South Korea will develop a missile interceptor system similar to the ‘Iron Dome’ of Israel. Also, the South unveiled a locally made prototype of the ‘Active Electronically Scanning Array’ (AESA) radar which will form the core of the fighter jets that Seoul is building indigenously. 

Furthermore, under the new defense plan, South Korea is set to get a range of unmanned UAVs for all the three military services.   

President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in

Besides, South Korea will build submarines and install submarine-launched ballistic missiles. For it, South Korea has even planned to build its first aircraft carrier and acquire fighter jets with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities. Seoul is eyeing US-made VTOL F-35B fighter jets. It is speculated that the South Koreans are considering to convert one of its existing under-construction ships into a light aircraft carrier. Further, South Korea is also eyeing for new destroyers with robust land-attack capabilities. In addition to it, in late July, South Korea launched its first military communications satellite, ‘ANASIS-II’. The launch came after North Korea provoked the South by unwarranted testing of a missile. 

 

To sum it up, the new defense plan highlights the kind of caution and scepticism China has fueled among the nations of the Indo-Pacific as Japan, Taiwan, India, Vietnam, Singapore, etc. are increasingly opting for bold military plans and purchases. China’s aggressive posturing has thus fueled an arms race which could have severe consequences for the region.   

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