Naval War College Review


Duk-Ki Kim


Since its provocations against Yeonpyeong Island on 23 November 2010, North Korea’s asymmetric threats have emerged as one of the most momentous security issues for the Republic of Korea (ROK).1 After bitter defeats in the First and Second Yeonpyeong Sea Battles, as well as in the Daechung Sea Battle of November 2009, North Korea recognized its disadvantage in symmetric surface-ship provocations. It resorted instead to new and unexpected tactics, utilizing its latest small submarine to torpedo ROKS Cheonan on 26 March 2010. Considered to be the North’s severest military provocation since the Ko- rean War armistice, the sinking of ROKS Cheonan gravely shocked every as- pect of Korean society—political, diplomatic, psychological, and military—and caused deep ripples across the range of Northeast Asian security.