Join might with diplomacyA launch ceremony for Korea’s first Aegis-class destroyer was held yesterday. The new destroyer can detect up to 900 targets such as jet fighters at the same time, and attack them with all types of firearms, including missiles and anti-aircraft guns.
Korea is now the third country, after the United States and Japan, to have the warship with a displacement of 7,600 tons.
Until now, the Korean Navy’s status was at the same level as a coast guard. Its major duties were to defend the coasts and support inland operations.
But the ownership of an Aegis will help us build a more powerful navy, particularly because the new warship has a transport vessel that allows jet fighters to take off and land vertically. The new Aegis vessel is meaningful because it strengthens our security by enhancing our defense abilities against North Korea and also guarantees more stability for the imports of raw materials, such as oil.
Having the high-tech vessel is even more meaningful considering that China and Japan are caught up in their own competitions regarding military equipment.
Even though Korea’s combat capabilities are weaker than its neighboring countries, the new warship will contribute to Korea’s strategic capability to inflict a critical blow.
However, we need to examine the desirable amount of high-tech weaponry for Korea, considering the country’s economic power.
About 1 trillion won ($1.1 billion) was spent on building the Aegis destroyer. That is 1/24th of this year’s military budget. It will cost a whopping 4 billion won a year to maintain the vessel.
Moreover, the military and the Air Force need to advance in many areas, too. We need to make the right judgment as to whether we can afford paying such enormous amounts of money to enhance our military capabilities.
The former Soviet Union and North Korea set the examples: If one country keeps enhancing its military more than its capabilities, the country’s burdens can end up being too much.
Of course, Korea’s current plans to enhance its military are not that bad.
But we should not think that we need to develop high-tech weaponry just because our neighboring countries are doing so.
While enhancing our military power, we also need to keep close diplomatic ties with our allies.
That’s the best and surest way to keep national security effectively.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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