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Int'l military report considers Korean Peninsula most 'dangerous' since Korean War

The Korean Peninsula is experiencing its most "dangerous" period since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War in light of North Korean provocations last year, an international military report showed Wednesday.
   
The 2011 edition of the annual Military Balance, published by
the London-based think tank International Institute for Strategic
Studies (IISS), said international tensions rose across the world
in 2010 and pointed to North Korean provocations.

   "In the context of an imminent and possibly unclear leadership
succession in Pyongyang, North Korea's apparent aggression towards
the South -- seen in its alleged sinking of the Cheonan in March
last year and its shelling last November of the island of
Yeonpyeong -- mean that the Korean peninsula is now as dangerous a
place it has been at any time since the end of the Korean War in
1953," a press statement by the IISS read.

   In May last year, a Seoul-led multinational probe concluded
that North Korea torpedoed the Cheonan warship off the west coast,
killing 46 men aboard. In November, four South Koreans -- two
marines and two civilians -- were killed in the North Korean
shelling, in North Korea's first attack on South Korean territory
since the Korean War.

   Pyongyang has yet to acknowledge responsibility for these
actions, despite Seoul's repeated demands. The two Koreas remain
technically at war since the Korean War ended with an armistice,
instead of a peace treaty.

   "These developments have reinforced South Korea's determination
to strengthen its military capacity," the IISS statement read.

"Seoul has focused on procuring anti-submarine warfare capabilities
and has accelerated the FX-III multirole fighter aircraft programme."

   The think tank said these moves have "backed up Seoul's more
assertive rhetoric," as the Lee Myung-bak administration has vowed
to meet any future provocations with strong responses.

   The Military Balance offers assessment of military capabilities
and defense economies of 170 countries, according to the IISS. The
latest edition also looks at the war in Afghanistan, China's
defense industry and piracy off Somali coasts. (Yonhap News)

 

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