CRF Blog

Backgrounder on North Korea’s Military Capabilities

by Bill Hayes

Backgrounders from the Council on Foreign Relations are primers on pressing world issues. They usually include histories, summaries, images, graphs, video, and links to additional resources.

A recent Backgrounder was on North Korea’s Military Capabilities.

The United States and its Asian allies regard North Korea as a grave security threat. It has one of the world’s largest conventional military forces, which, combined with its escalating missile and nuclear tests and aggressive rhetoric, has aroused concern worldwide. But world powers have been ineffective in slowing its path to acquire nuclear weapons. The North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, sees the nuclear program as the means to sustain his regime. While it remains among the poorest countries in the world, North Korea spends nearly a quarter of its GDP on its military, according to U.S. State Department estimates. Its brinkmanship will continue to test regional and international partnerships aimed at preserving stability and security. [more]