The North Korean Military
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) is a small, xenophobic, and diplomatically isolated nation. It also is one of the world's most militaristic states. Despite the downward spiral of its economy, the DPRK rejects meaningful economic reform and continues to maintain one of the world's largest armed forces. In addition to a robust conventional military, Pyongyang is armed with weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological, and perhaps even nuclear weapons) and the delivery systems to use them.
In 1910 Korea was formally annexed to the Japanese Empire. Along with numerous other occupied territories, it was liberated following the Japanese surrender and the end of World War II in 1945. In keeping with wartime agreements, the Korean peninsula was divided temporarily at the 38th parallel. However, UN-sponsored efforts to unify the country peacefully ended in failure. As a consequence, two rival regimes were established on the peninsula.
In the northern zone, the Soviet Union installed a communist regime and helped train a communist army. On September 9, 1948, the DPRK was officially founded. The new state was headed by Kim IlSung, a hard-line Communist known for his anti-Japanese guerrilla activities during the 1930s. Most Soviet forces withdrew from North Korea that same year.
In the South, the United States helped to establish a pro-Western regime headed by Syngman Rhee, a nationalist leader. On August 15, 1948, the ROK was officially established. Most U. S. troops withdrew from the peninsula in early 1949.
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Publication information: Book title: The Armies of East Asia: China, Taiwan, Japan, and the Koreas. Contributors: Dennis Van Vranken Hickey - Author. Publisher: Lynne Rienner. Place of publication: Boulder, CO. Publication year: 2001. Page number: 195.
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