South Korea has long been among the top 10 countries by military expenditure. According to the latest report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, it is the fourth largest military spender in Asia. Nonetheless, the South Koreans themselves are unsure whether the country can actually compete with their northern neighbour.
Around 40 percent of South Koreans do not believe that Seoul’s military is stronger than the North Korean one, while 32 percent of those surveyed think the opposite, the Business Insider media outlet said, citing a survey conducted by the Korean Institute for National Unification in 2020.
The concerns have grown, as North Korea held another military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, demonstrating new military vehicles, equipment, missiles, and uniforms.
Despite being one of the most technologically advanced military powers in Asia, South Korea is now facing a looming challenge. Given the demographic crisis, the low scale of military modernisation, and lack of funding, the country’s ability to protect its northern border could be severely affected by the factors mentioned above.
Earlier this month, South Korea’s population fell for the first time in the country’s history, highlighting its decades-long battle against the problem of an ageing population and low fertility rate. 16 years ago, the government already considered low birth rates a matter of a major concern.