North Korea Military Growing More Powerful to Rank 23rd

A recent military parade in North Korea (File Photo)A recent military parade in North Korea (File Photo)

North Korea’s military manpower has been growing but remains well below that of South Korea, which ranked 11th in the world, according to an annual ranking of the world’s armed forces.

Global Firepower released its annual ranking of the world’s armed forces on Wednesday, showing Seoul’s Army could easily overpower North Korea’s People’s Army in the event of a conflict, UPI reported.

Pyongyang’s military, with a prominent role in defending the Kim Jong-un regime, ranked 23rd most powerful in the world, ranking directly below Australia but above Canada and Saudi Arabia.

That figure, however, reflects an improvement over its 2016 rankings, when North Korea’s military strength ranked 25th.

North Korea ranked 35th as recently as 2014 but as Kim continued to consolidate his power, the military has been building its units, recruiting more soldiers and developing its arsenal of weapons.

South Korea’s manpower has been falling in recent years.

Seoul’s military ranked seventh in 2015, but based on the number and range of weapons, geographical considerations, logistics, natural resources, industry and manpower, Seoul fell four positions in 2016 and has stayed at 11th place in 2017, according to the survey.

The United States maintained the No. 1 position it occupied in 2016 and was followed by Russia, China and India.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump congratulated South Korea’s new president on his election victory and the two agreed to work closely in dealing with North Korea.

The call lasted 30 minutes and was the first conversation Moon Jae-in had with a world leader since his inauguration on Wednesday.

Trump told Moon the strong bilateral alliance defended the two countries against North Korea and then invited the newly-elected South Korean president for a state visit.

Moon said the alliance with Washington is his top priority.

“In current circumstances where there is growing uncertainty on the Korean Peninsula and the region, the US-South Korea alliance is more important than ever before,” Moon said, according to Yonhap.

“The US-South Korea alliance is the foundation of our foreign policy and will continue to be so.”

Moon has said he would “go to Pyongyang if conditions are met” during his inaugural address and had proposed the reopening of a jointly operated factory park in the right circumstances.

Moon also called China’s President Xi Jinping on Wednesday and spoke to the Chinese leader for 40 minutes.


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