N. Korea can't hit America, but S. Korea and Japan in range: Defence experts
SEOUL (REUTERS) - North Korea has plenty of military firepower even if its threat this week of a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the United States is a hollow one, with South Korea most at risk from the isolated regime's artillery and rockets.
Japan, separated by less than 1,000 km of water and a frequent target of North Korea's ire, is also in easy range of Pyongyang's short- and mid-range missiles.
In pure numbers, North Korea's military looks formidable, much larger than the more affluent South in both personnel and equipment. The North's 1.2 million soldiers face off against 640,000 South Korean troops who are backed up by 26,000 U.S. personnel stationed in the country.
However, Pyongyang's capabilities are not what the figures would suggest. Impoverished North Korea has all but abandoned running a conventional military that can engage in sustained battle because of scare resources and has instead focused on nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology, experts said.