01 March 2011

China’s Increasing Air Power: Implications for the Republic of Korea Air Force

Andrew S. Erickson, “China’s Increasing Air Power: Implications for the Republic of Korea Air Force,” in 김기정, 문정인, 최종건 [Kim Ki Jong, Moon Chung In, and Choi Jong Kun, eds.], 한반도 안보환경 변화와 항공우주력의 진화 [Changes in the Security Environment and the Evolution of Air Power on the Korean Peninsula], 연세대공군력연구총서 [Yonsei University Air Force Studies Series] (Seoul: Yonsei University Press, 2011), 73-114.

Beijing’s military air components are finally on the verge of giving the country’s leaders something they have dreamed of since before the founding of the People’s Republic of China: a reliable instrument of national power. This has significant implications for the security architecture of northeast Asia. China is poised to increase its power and influence in the region, and has the potential to play an even more positive role than it has in recent years. Indeed, cooperation between China and South Korea has generally been excellent, and the two nations share tremendous interests, particularly in the economic sphere. Unfortunately, in an effort to pursue its own national interests, which include placing stability above all else, prioritizing the security of its border with North Korea, and making sure that developments on the Korean peninsula do not undermine China’s interests, China limits the ability of other nations to place pressure on North Korea to curtail its nuclear brinksmanship and other destabilizing and wholly irresponsible behavior. This is particularly regrettable, as North Korea remains the primary military threat to South Korea, and has developed a large air force and other military services to challenge it. As a thriving capitalist democracy that serves as a model to the world in economic and technological development, South Korea should by all rights be allowed to flourish in the same peaceful environment that many similarly advanced nations enjoy. Regrettably, the nation’s geopolitical location has long precluded this. Given the enduring military threat from Pyongyang, and expectations of deference from Seoul by Beijing, it will be essential for South Korea to secure and defend its own interests by carefully monitoring regional military trends, such as the growth and development of Chinese air power, and maintaining sufficient air, land, and sea power to ensure that its interests are taken seriously. This paper will therefore survey the development of Chinese air power and offer further implications for the Republic of Korea and its Air Force. …

XI. Implications for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF, 大韓民國 空軍)

The ROKAF and PLAAF share historical similarities, but their recent trajectories and purposes as instruments of national power have since diverged substantially. Like the PLAAF, the ROKAF had developed gradually during the 1940s, but expanded greatly during the Korean War, in part through acquisition of foreign aircraft and instructors (both from the U.S., as opposed to the USSR, as was the case with the PLAAF). Unlike the PLAAF, whose capabilities declined precipitously in the 1960s and have only begun to recover, the ROKAF continued to develop steadily and substantially in subsequent decades to address ongoing high-intensity threats from North Korea. This clearly Korean effort and achievement, complete with indigenously produced aircraft, was assisted by continuing aircraft purchases and production arrangements and other cooperation with the U.S. Air Force under the aegis of the ROK-U.S. alliance. Unlike the PLAAF, the ROKAF has contributed to international allied missions, supporting coalition forces in Operation Desert Storm in 1990-91 and Somalia stability operations in 1993. In a testament to the caliber of South Korea’s indigenous aircraft production capability, Korean Aerospace Industries has sold 19 KT-1B trainers to Indonesia in 2003, and has further export plans.

North Korea remains by far South Korea’s primary security threat, and thus North Korea’s air force and army remain the ROKAF’s primary targets. While most North Korean Air Force aircraft are old Soviet models, its order of battle is twice as big as that of the ROKAF, and it may be prepared to engage in high attrition operations. Perhaps most worrisome, North Korea has long focused on developing artillery and missiles. These projectiles’ relatively simple design and low cost enables it to produce significant numbers, while the laws of physics make it far easier to attack aircraft and runways with them than to defend against them. In the future, this could pose a major challenge to the ability of ROKAF aircraft to operate near North Korean airspace in the unfortunate event of conflict.

With its triple-digit SAMS and the world’s foremost sub-strategic missile force, China has far more ability than North Korea to disable ROKAF aircraft and the airfields that they operate from. One need only consider the rapidly shifting military balance across the Taiwan Strait to see the PLA’s progress in this area. Fortunately, the prospect of hostilities erupting between Seoul and Beijing is extremely low, and the chances of the ROKAF and the PLAAF facing each other in combat as they did during the Korean War over half a century ago is even lower. The ROK and PRC enjoy good relations, and seek to build on their strong and growing economic ties. Still, with regard to strategic issues, there remain certain limits and barriers to cooperation. While Beijing decries military alliances, including the very positive ROK-US alliance that has served as a cornerstone of peninsular and regional stability, it maintains in some form (but rarely discusses) its six-decade alliance with Pyongyang. While the ROK clearly enhances regional stability and economic growth as a responsible and vibrant capitalist democracy, and North Korea continues to play a decidedly harmful and destabilizing role in both these areas, China remains unwilling to acknowledge Seoul’s good behavior or punish Pyongyang’s bad behavior. No recent issue has so underscored this inequity as the North Korean navy’s unconscionable 26 March 2010 sinking of ROKS Cheonan. China’s unwillingness to condemn this war-like act makes it clear that it will tolerate virtually any North Korean behavior in the name of protecting the stability of its border with North Korea and its northeast regions with their significant ethnic Korean populations. There are also indications that Beijing is working to position itself as a power-broker with regard to peninsular issues, such that any future reunification would entail critical concessions to Beijing. Such behavior is particularly unfortunate given China’s own painful experience of national division, and suggests strongly that while Beijing professes that all nations are equal, in reality it expects deference from South Korea given its relatively smaller size and national power.

For all these reasons, a strong and reliable ROKAF will continue to be important to safeguard ROK security interests in the years ahead. First and foremost, it will have to defend the ROK from North Korean attack, bullying, and brinksmanship. More broadly, however, it will play a critical role in making it clear to China and any other nations that the ROK is to be taken seriously and its interests respected. For all the challenges that the ROK-U.S. alliance has faced over the years (most recently, the U.S. should make it a priority to sign a bilateral free trade agreement, which would benefit both sides significantly), it endures because it is based on mutual interests and mutual respect. The U.S. values and admires the ROK, covets none of its territory, has no opposition whatsoever to its national reunification, takes seriously threats to its security, and is willing—decisively and unapologetically—to help defend against them. Only by maintaining a strong ROKAF and other military services will the ROK be able to demand the similar respect for its interests that it deserves from other countries, such as China.

That Korea has endured such terrible injustices and geopolitical threats is one of the tragedies of history. That it has surmounted nearly insuperable odds to become a leading democracy and economy with technology that is the envy of the world is one of history’s miracles, and a testimony to the strength of Korean culture, national spirit, and hard work. It is by no means fair that Korea has had to work so hard to safeguard these great achievements without the advantages that many other nations have enjoyed, but it has been by such exceptional efforts that it has survived and thrived as a nation, and will continue to do so in years to come. It is to be hoped that the ROK-U.S. alliance can continue to productively support South Korea’s important and supremely justified efforts to provide a secure climate for its national development.


한반도 안보환경 변화와 항공우주력의 진화

김기정 지음 | 오름

출간일 : 2011년 02월 28일 | ISBN : 9788977783539

페이지수 : 235쪽 | 판형 : 신국판 (148*225)

도서분야 : 사회학 > 정치학 > 국방군사

정가: 15,000원


김기정, 항공우주력, 진화, 한반도, 연세대공군력연구총서, 안보환경

본 연구서의 발행은 13번째 회의를 정리하는 단순한 연구총서 이상이다. 본 연구서는 대한민국 공군이 한반도 안보환경 변화에 맞추어 진화하고 있음을 확인하고, 이를 통해 대한민국의 대북 억지력을 강화하는 초석임을 재확인할 수 있는 종합보고서라고 할 수 있다. 또한 ‘공군과 타군과의 합동성 강화, 대국민 이미지 강화, 무기획득의 효율성강화’ 라는 세밀한 주제가 2011년 한반도 안보지형을 이해하는 데 많은 도음을 줄 것이라고 생각된다.

-서문 중에서



제1부 전쟁수행방식의 변화와 공군의 역할

제1장 Trends in Conventional Conflicts and Air Power / Jasjit Singh

Ⅰ. Historical Trends in Conventional Wars

Ⅱ. Sub-conventional Wars

Ⅲ. Trends in Air Power

Ⅳ. Some Conclusions

제2장 21세기 전쟁양상의 변화와 항공우주력의 역할 / 조한승

Ⅰ. 서론

Ⅱ. 전쟁양상 변화의 의미

Ⅲ. 21세기 전쟁양상: 4세대 전쟁 (4GW) 과 하이브리드 전쟁 (hybrid warfare)

Ⅲ. 미래전과 항공우주력

Ⅳ. 결론

제3장 China’s Increasing Air Power: Implications for the Republic of Korea Air Force / Andrew S. Erickson

Ⅰ. Background and Order of Battle

Ⅱ. Weapons

Ⅲ. Doctrinal Guidance and Transformation

Ⅳ. Aviation Industry

Ⅴ. Training

Ⅵ. Scenarios

Ⅶ. Non-Traditional Uses of Air Power

Ⅷ. Deck Aviation Developments

Ⅸ. Potential Emerging Missions

Ⅹ. The Future of Chinese Air Power

ⅩⅠ. Implications for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF, 大韓民國 空軍)

제2부 국민과 함께 하는 공군력 강화

제4장 국민의 눈에 비친 공군 이미지: 투사 이미지의 비교분석 / 박남기

Ⅰ. 서론

Ⅱ. 조직 이미지의 정의

Ⅲ. 대한민국 공군의 일반적 이미지

Ⅳ. 대한민국 공군의 이미지 제고 노력

Ⅴ. 매스미디어의 대한민국 공군 관련 보도

Ⅵ. 미국 공군의 이미지

Ⅶ. 매스미디어의 미국 공군 관련 보도

Ⅷ. 결론

제5장 항공우주국가로서 한국의 이미지와 공군 / 정일권

Ⅰ. 문제의 제기

Ⅱ. 국가기관으로서의 공군의 항공우주군 이미지

Ⅲ. 한국 공군의 PR전략

Ⅳ. 향후 PR을 위해 몇 가지 제안

제3부 항공우주력 발전을 위한 공군 경영 효율성: 무기획득과정의 합리성과 효율성을 위한 제언

제6장 Acquiring Air Forces: Lessons Learned from Foreign Cases / Zachary Mears)

Ⅰ. Introduction

Ⅱ. Characterizing the Nature of the Military Competition Over Time

Ⅲ. Identifying Goals and Objectives in the Military Competition

Ⅳ. Competitive Strategies

Ⅴ. Capabilities-Based Planning

Ⅵ. Concluding Thoughts and Lessons Learned

제7장 미래지향적 공군전력 운용 및 건설의 효율성 강화 방안 / 정철호

Ⅰ. 서론

Ⅱ. 현대전의 특징 및 항공우주력의 역할

Ⅲ. ‘항공우주군’ 에 대한 도전과 과제

Ⅳ. ‘한국 공군’ 의 전투력 증강 효율성 강화 방안

Ⅴ. 결론

제4부 좌담 천안함 사건을 통해 본 합동성 진단

필자 소개 (원고 게재 순)