In July 2005 the South Korean navy took delivery of its largest warship to date. Two hundred meters long with a full-length flight deck and hangar, the amphibious assault ship Dokdo can carry up to 700 marines and 15 helicopters. It’s an impressive ship worthy of a world-class power — and the jewel of the Republic of Korea Navy.
It’s also completely unnecessary and a symbol of South Korea’s increasingly misplaced defense priorities.
In the country’s rush to embrace its destiny as a seagoing nation, South Korea has prematurely shifted resources from defending against a hostile North Korea to defeating exaggerated sea-based threats from abroad. Seoul is in the midst of a strategic shift that has shorted defenses against the North and put its forces in harm’s way.
This misguided pivot also calls into question justification for the continued stationing of American troops in South Korea.
For a guy that writes about Asian defense issues, Kyle Mizokami sure seems to do an awful job of it.
Go ahead and read the whole thing. And ask yourself what an article about the ROKN is missing. North Korea is mentioned, and so is Japan.
But apparently Kyle completely forgets to mention the big country with a growing navy that the Korean peninsula is actually attached to- China.
South Korea is utterly dependent on sea lanes of communication, every bit as much as an island nation such as Japan. It’s no surprise they’re investing heavily in a capable navy. The real surprise is that they aren’t making an even bigger investment, especially considering South Korea is just about the premier shipbuilding country in the world right now.