President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have been locked in a battle of words for months now, but conflict is looking increasingly likely.
According to the regime’s propaganda mouthpiece Rodong Sinmun, students and workers from across the nation have signed up to the People’s Army in response to the latest spate of UN sanctions.
Earlier in 2015 Pyongyang claimed one million people offered to enlist or re-enlist in the army in a similar move, after a mine explosion on the demilitarised border triggered a diplomatic row.
Tensions are also high following Pyongyang’s threat to target a missile at US territory in Guam.
How big is North Korea’s army?
Estimates on North Korea’s active military personnel vary, but the figure stands somewhere in the one million ballpark.
This makes it the fourth largest army in the world, just under India, the US and China with over two million troops.
According to a 2015 Military and Security report to the US Congress, four to five percent of North Korea’s 25 million-strong population is on active duty.
Another 25 to 30 per cent are expected to be on stand-by or serve in paramilitary units ready for deployment. That is another 7.5 million troops under Kim Jong-un’s command.
READ MORE: HOW MANY NUCLEAR WEAPONS DOES NORTH KOREA HAVE?
In stark comparison, last year South Korea could only call 635 thousand troops to its defences.
But despite the seemingly superior might of the North Korean army, the armed forces are plagued by obsolete weaponry and Soviet-era technology.
The International Institute for Strategic Studies judged in 2015: “North Korea remains reliant on a predominantly obsolescent equipment inventory across all three services.”
SEOul can call upon the latest in warfare technology with better equated ground troops, tanks and US fighter jets.
“The KPA primarily fields legacy equipment, either produced in or based on designs from the Soviet Union and China dating back to the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s,” the Congress report read.
“Although a few weapons systems are based on modern technology, the KPA has not kept pace with regional military capability developments.”
South Korea’s forces are also bolstered by 35,000 US troops permanently stationed near the border.
United States Forces Korea is responsible for training South Korean soldiers and keeping them primed and ready for deployment at moment’s notice.
Another 39 thousand soldiers were stationed last year in the neighbouring Japan, which could be called upon for back-up.
READ MORE: WILL NORTH KOREA ATTACK THE US?
But the regime has been making leaps and bounds with its nuclear programme in recent months, with a raft of new missile tests planned for mid-August.
The underlying problem is North Korea’s Songun ideology – Military-First. It is an off-shoot of the state’s Juche ideology, and elevates the army as the “defender” of North Korea.
“The People’s Army is the pillar and main force of the Songun revolution and a revolutionary armed force of the Workers’ Party of Korea,” a propaganda slogan explains.
Songun was adopted in the mid-1990s by Kim Jong-il to consolidate the regime’s power around its armed forces and to deter conflict from the South.
Source : EXPRESS