North adopts new war invasion strategy: source
The North Korean military has recently altered its wartime contingency plans against South Korea to concentrate on attacking the Seoul metropolitan region, a military source said yesterday. South Korean commanders will meet next month to discuss the change and their response to it.
According to the high-ranking source, the North’s military recently decided to do away with the so-called “Five-to-Seven” plans dating from the 1980s to adopt a new plan in which it would occupy only a part of South Korea and start negotiating a cease-fire.
“We believe the North made the change to better deal with the upgraded weapons systems of the U.S. and South Korean forces,” the source explained.
In the previous plan, the numerals five and seven refer to the number of days North Korea believed it would take to occupy all of South Korea. Under that plan, the North’s frontline mechanized units would bulldoze through the South for about a week before gaining control of the country.
With the new plan, the North would concentrate its early fire on Seoul and neighboring areas, where most of South Korea’s social and economic infrastructure is located.
“North Korea would try to occupy Seoul early,” the source said. “And from there, it could either try to go farther south, or try to negotiate [for a cease-fire] from an advantageous position.”
A military expert who requested anonymity said the North took cues from the Gulf War in 1991 and Iraq War in 2003. Iraqi forces had armored vehicles similar to the North’s, but they were destroyed by the U.S. military’s precision strike weapons. North Korea, in other words, has concluded that if its mechanized units engaged in old-fashioned combat without extra help, they would be no match for the more sophisticated U.S. weapons systems.
As part of the change, North Korea has bolstered its frontline mechanized corps with extra mechanized divisions, the military source said. Also, the frontline corps have each received an extra light infantry division, and light infantry battalions on the front have been expanded to regiments.
The South Korean military also believes the North has bolstered its torpedo and sea mine capabilities against a possible U.S.-South Korea joint rear landing and has traded submarines with Iran for the latest torpedoes.
South Korean military commanders will gather early next month to discuss how to stay prepared for combat amid increasing tension with North Korea. Defense Ministry spokesman Won Tae-jae said, “Their meeting will serve as an opportunity for us to review problems surrounding the Cheonan sinking, to discuss strengthening combat preparedness on western islands and to tighten discipline for the entire armed forces.”
By Kim Min-seok, Yoo Jee-ho [email@example.com]