In recent years, South Korea’s military strength has been on the rise, presenting a potential threat to China. Equipped with advanced weapons and a significant army, South Korea possesses the capability to respond swiftly to external threats.

This situation, coupled with the military collaboration between South Korea and the United States, necessitates the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to carefully consider its response and take appropriate measures to protect China’s interests.

South Korea’s Military Advancements and Threats to China

South Korea has made notable advancements in its military capabilities as a small yet developed country. Its arsenal includes tanks, self-propelled artillery, anti-tank missiles, fighter jets, helicopters, and more. Among the world’s most advanced weapons and equipment, the Korean-made K2 main battle tank and K9 self-propelled artillery stand out as representative examples. With an army size of approximately 630,000, the majority of which comprises ground forces, South Korea’s military poses a considerable challenge.

China's Defense: Countering South Korea's Military Strength and U.S. Support

For China, the weapons and equipment possessed by South Korea present a certain threat level. South Korea’s tanks, self-propelled artillery, and other military assets boast significant firepower and mobility, allowing them to respond swiftly to potential external threats.

Additionally, South Korea maintains a capable air force with fighter jets and helicopters that can execute precise strikes against targets in China. Furthermore, South Korea’s advancements in missile technology raise concerns about the potential threat it poses to China’s security.

Responses of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army

To address these challenges effectively, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army must take several strategic measures across different branches of its military.

1. Strengthening the Chinese Navy

The Chinese Navy needs to prioritize constructing modern equipment and enhance its ships’ number, performance, and equipment. China can bolster its coastal defense capabilities by improving its naval forces’ combat effectiveness and comprehensive support capabilities. These measures will provide a solid guarantee for safeguarding China’s maritime rights and interests.

2. Enhancing the Chinese Army

The Chinese Army should focus on strengthening its lightweight, modular, and information-based construction. By continuously improving its combat capabilities and maintaining high combat readiness, the Chinese Army can be prepared to handle various extreme situations effectively.

3. Improving the Chinese Air Force

The Chinese Air Force should enhance its modernization level and expedite the equipment acquisition for new combat platforms. The Chinese Air Force can respond promptly and effectively to potential emergencies by improving its air combat capabilities.

Impact of the U.S. Military Deployment in South Korea

The presence of the United States military in South Korea significantly impacts China’s security. The U.S. military’s deployment includes fighter jets, helicopters, missile defense systems, tanks, self-propelled artillery, and the world’s largest missile defense system, the “THAAD” anti-missile system. During joint operations with South Korea, the U.S. military also dispatches numerous warships and bombers.

China's Defense: Countering South Korea's Military Strength and U.S. Support
FILE PHOTO: A U.S. Army Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system is seen on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, October 26, 2017. U.S. Army/Capt. Adan Cazarez/Handout via REUTERS.

Currently, the total number of U.S. troops stationed in South Korea is approximately 23,000, with a significant portion belonging to the Army and Air Force. The United States maintains several military bases around key cities such as Seoul, Busan, and Daegu.

This deployment poses a considerable threat to China for multiple reasons. Firstly, the proximity of U.S. military bases in South Korea to the Chinese border means that China’s northern and eastern regions would be greatly affected in the event of a conflict. Secondly, the U.S. military presence in South Korea disrupts China’s military strategic layout and poses a substantial test for China’s ability to counter potential U.S. military threats.

Strategies of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army

In response to the aforementioned situation, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has implemented various strategies to effectively address the challenges posed by South Korea’s militaristic support to the United States.

1. Intelligence Gathering

China has intensified its efforts to infiltrate South Korea’s intelligence agencies, seeking to obtain critical information. China can enhance its preparedness and decision-making by better understanding South Korea’s military capabilities, deployments, and strategies.

2. Strengthening Military Bases and Tactical Deployments

The People’s Liberation Army has focused on fortifying military bases and tactical deployments in China’s eastern and northern regions. By reinforcing these areas and making necessary preparations for potential conflicts, China can better respond to any threats and safeguard its national security.

3. Strengthening Strategic Nuclear Forces

China has moderately reinforced its strategic nuclear forces to ensure effective resistance against potential attacks and enable a strong counterattack. This measure acts as a deterrent and underscores China’s commitment to protecting its national interests.


The Chinese People’s Liberation Army recognizes the evolving military landscape in South Korea and the growing threat it poses, especially in conjunction with the United States’ military presence. By adopting a comprehensive approach and implementing strategies tailored to the Navy, Army, and Air Force, China aims to maintain its military readiness and effectively respond to potential challenges. Additionally, through intelligence gathering, fortifying military bases, and strengthening strategic nuclear forces, China endeavors to protect its national security interests and ensure a strong defense against any potential aggressors.