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Military power of South Korea & NATO

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South Korea vs NATO

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South Korea NATO

South Korea is a country located in Eastern Asia with an area of 100,210 km2 (land boundries: 237 km and costline 2,413 km). The capital of South Korea is Seoul. The number of inhabitants is 51,709,098.

US-South Korea Mutual Defense Treaty is a cornerstone of South Korea’s security. The Treaty gave the US permission to station land, air, and sea forces in the territory of South Korea. The USA maintained approximately 28,000 military personnel in the country. South Korea has been engaged with NATO through dialogue and security cooperation since 2005 and is considered by NATO to be a global partner. The South Korean military is equipped with a mix of domestically-produced and imported weapons systems. The top foreign weapons supplier is the United States and some domestically-produced systems are built under US license.

More about South Korea military

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (North Atlantic Alliance) is an intergovernmental military alliance which was signed in Washington on 4 April 1949. NATO is a system of collective security: its independent member states agree to defend each other against attacks by others countries. NATO's main headquarters are located in Brussels. The following twelve states signed the treaty and became the founding members: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom and United States. The following states joined the treaty after 1949: Greece, Germany, Turkey and Spain. Members who joined after the dissolution of the Soviet Union: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro and North Macedonia.

Before and during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, several NATO countries sent army to reinforce the alliance's eastern flank. Alliance had deployed 40,000 troops along its 2,500 kilometres long Eastern flank to deter possible Russian aggression. On 5 July the North Atlantic Alliance members signed off on the accession protocols for Sweden and Finland and formally approved the decisions of the NATO summit.

Finland joined the alliance on 4 April 2023.

If you want to check the comparison in terms of economic ratios check out

Military expenditures

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Military budget: 44 billion $ 1321.7 billion $
Percent of GDP: 2.5% 0%

Military budget

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Highest value in the world: 916 billion $ (USA)


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Active personnel: 555,000 3,254,339
Reserve personnel: 2,750,000 2,633,732
Available for military: 13,185,794 206,903,543


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Highest value in the world: 2,035,000 (China)

Land Forces

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Tanks: 2,606 13,156
Armoured fighting vehicles: 4,380 84,064
Total artillery: 7,468 11,921
Self-propelled artillery: 3,040 4,379
Rocket artillery: 574 1,833


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Highest value in the world: 12,267 (Russia)

Air Forces

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Total aircraft: 1,585 21,389
Fighter aircraft: 156 1,012
Multirole aircraft: 371 3,664
Attack aircraft: 0 693
Helicopters: 757 8,424
UCAV (combat drone): 0 689

Total aircraft

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Highest value in the world: 13,175 (USA)


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Total naval: 195 1,916
Aircraftcarriers: 2 28
Destroyers: 12 122
Frigates: 18 112
Corvettes: 11 55
Submarines: 22 144

Total naval

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Highest value in the world: 967 (North Korea)

Nuclear weapons

South Korea

Does not have nuclear weapons.


Data not available

Military service

South Korea

20-30 years of age for compulsory military service, with middle school education required; minimum conscript service obligation - 21 months (Army, Marines), 23 months (Navy), 24 months (Air Force); 18-26 years of age for voluntary military service; women, in service since 1950, admitted to 7 service branches, including infantry, but excluded from artillery, armor, anti-air, and chaplaincy corps; HIV-positive individuals are exempt from military service.


Data not available