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N. Korea Beefs Up Border Patrol

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posted on Jan, 15 2003 @ 04:40 PM
PANMUNJOM, Korea, Jan. 14, 2003

North Korean soldiers have stepped up patrols in one area of the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas, the U.S. military said Wednesday. The increase in patrol comes after President Bush said he would consider a plan to give North Korea energy and food aid if the communist regime disarms its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea's massive military is probably backed up by one or two nuclear weapons and would present a greater challenge to American forces than Iraq's, U.S. defense officials say.

With 1.2 million troops, North Korea is considered the world's most militarized nation: It has more soldiers, per capita, than any other. Its military is the fourth or fifth largest in the world, and more than 30 percent of its gross domestic product is spent on its military, according to CIA estimates.

But for all its size, North Korea's conventional military can't match U.S. technology, despite an effort to modernize, officials said. It is short on fuel and sometimes food, even though it receives both before the civilian populace does.

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