Skip to comments.S. Korea: New Warplan Calls for Invasion of North Korea (Operation Plan 5027)
Posted on 02/08/2003 2:50:21 AM PST by TigerLikesRooster
New Warplan Calls for Invasion of North Korea
By Richard Halloran November 14, 1998
United States and South Korean military commanders are completing a new war plan intended not only to repel a North Korean invasion if hostilities erupt but to invade North Korea to demolish its armed forces, capture the capital at Pyongyang, and destroy the North Korean regime.
Said a senior U.S. official: "When we're done, they will not be able to mount any military activity of any kind. We will kill them all."
He said the combined forces of the U.S. and South Korea would abolish North Korea as a functioning state, end the rule of its leader, Kim Jong Il, and reorganize the country under South Korean control.
Before, U.S. and South Korean war plans called only for stopping North Korean invaders and throwing them back across the 4000 meter wide demilitarized zone that divides this peninsula. In 1994, for instance, war plans called for repelling North Korea when conflict nearly broke out over Pyongyang's effort to develop nuclear arms.
Officials here said the new war plan was being devised because North Korea's armed force of 1 million troops equipped with largely obsolete weapons is deteriorating by the day as the nation's economic disasters take their toll. American officials fear that North Korea, on the verge of collapse, might strike out in desperation. "They may figure 'use it or lose it,'" said an officer familiar with North Korea.
In addition, the Clinton Administration and the Congress appear to be losing confidence that North Korea will abide by the 1994 Agreed Framework that averted hostilities and supposedly halted the North Korean nuclear program. An unnamed senior Administration official was quoted in Washington on Nov. 10 as saying the U.S. was prepared to walk away from the agreement unless Pyongyang could show that it was not developing nuclear weapons at a new underground site.
President Clinton is scheduled to discuss U.S-South Korean strategy for dealing with North Korea with President Kim Dae Jung of South Korea here on Nov. 21-22 if the threat of conflict with Iraq does not alter the U.S. President's trip. The President may thus be confronted with decisions on the two regional contingencies for which his Administration has instructed the Pentagon to prepare.
U.S. officials, however, declined to say whether the President would be apprised specifically of the new war plan while he is in Seoul; it must be presented to the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington and the Ministry of Defense here for approval before it goes into effect. That was expected shortly.
The new plan calls for a deliberate campaign to crush North Korean armed forces and government in what an official called "defeating them in detail." That means every gun and tank emplacement along the DMZ, ammunition and supply depot, bridge and crossroads, resupply and reinforcement route, air field and naval facility, commando base, headquarters and command post, and communications node, plus munitions factories, electric power grids, and government buildings in Pyongyang are on target lists.
The plan is three dimensional in breadth, depth, and time. It pinpoints targets north of the 151 mile long DMZ, identifies other targets back to Pyongyang and beyond, and calls for phases: Pre-North Korean attack, stopping the initial assault, regrouping for a counter-attack, and full scale invasion of North Korea to seize Pyongyang.
A target of high priority would be the North Korean artillery corps deployed north of the DMZ where it could fire due south toward Seoul. Many of North Korea's 10,600 artillery pieces are old and have limited range but about 200 multiple rocket launchers of 240 millimeters could hit Seoul to inflict severe damage. They are at the top of the target list.
Much of that artillery is parked in underground shelters that have been spotted by U.S. intelligence satellites and aircraft. Those guns must be pulled out to fire and thus become vulnerable. They can also be neutralized by bombing exits before they emerge. "We can bury them," said a military planner.
South Korean forces of 672,000 troops would bear the brunt of the ground war and part of the air operations but would be backed by 35,700 American troops in Korea and another 41,300 in Japan, mostly on the island of Okinawa. The balance of air and naval power would be American.
North Korean targets would be attacked by U.S. B-1 and B-52 bombers, which can fly over North Korea from the U.S. within 24 hours. More U.S. airpower would come from U.S. bases in South Korea and Japan and from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, which is based in Japan along with other U.S. warships. U.S. submarines armed with cruise missiles regularly patrol off North Korean coasts and more could arrive from Pearl Harbor in Hawaii within five days.
The war plan envisions the possibility of amphibious assaults into North Korea by U.S. Marines into the narrow waist of North Korea to cut the country in two. "The entire resources of the U.S. Marine Corps would flow here," said a U.S. official, referring to the Marine division on Okinawa, another in California, and the third in North Carolina. The U.S. broke North Korean and Chinese forces with an amphibious landing at the port of Inchon, west of Seoul, during the Korean War of 1950-53.
Most U.S. reinforcements would pass through Japan, particularly Okinawa, which would undoubtedly cause political problems in that pacifist nation despite its alliance with the U.S. Those operations would test new U.S.-Japan defense guidelines that require Japan to provide logistic support in the event of conflict in that region.
Even without the defense guidelines, the U.S. has the right to move troops, weapons, and supplies through Japan to Korea because American forces are posted here under a United Nations flag. A small and little known unit, the UN Rear Command, which has been at Camp Zama, southwest of Tokyo, since the Korean War, provides the legal and diplomatic cover for those movements.
President Clinton is scheduled to discuss security issues with Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi in Tokyo before going to Seoul.
China would also protest the plan, if executed, because it is an ally of North Korea and wants to see the regime survive because it does not want to see a South Korean army along its Manchurian border at the Yalu River.
A critical issue to the success of the new war plan is strategic warning in which the U.S. and South Korea pick up unambiguous signs that North Korea is preparing to attack. That warning time has been shortened from about ten days to about three days in recent years as North Korea has sought to cover its military movements. Instead of radio traffic, for instance, North Korean communications have shifted to land lines of fiber optics that are much harder to intercept.
The new plan provides for preemptive strikes that would seek to stun key North Korean units, particularly long range artillery and bombers, before they could go into action. Executing that plan, however, would require a political decision by both the U.S. and South Korean presidents that would depend on the situation at the time.
Among other provisions of the new plan are coping with North Korean chemical weapons, of which they have a large supply and may use in desperation; combating North Korean commandos, of which they have 100,000 highly trained; and handling tens or hundreds of thousands of North Korean refugees.
Officials here declined to say whether the U.S. and South Korea would seek to deter North Korea by presenting the outlines of the plan to North Korea in what are known as the "general officer talks" in Panmunjom, site of truce meetings since the end of the Korean War in 1953.
Those talks were initiated by North Korea in an attempt to establish a direct dialogue between the North Korean army and the U.S. command here but are seen by U.S. officials as a means for crisis management. Four meetings have taken place since June but have been concerned with protests over a North Korean submarine incursion.
*Richard Halloran, formerly with The New York Times in Asia and Washington, writes about Asia from Honolulu. He is a consultant to the Center for War, Peace, and the News Media, and a regular contributor to the Global Beat. For reprint rights, please contact him at tel: 808-395-0511, fax 808-396-4095, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why isn't this guy in charge?
Yeah. They have been on the verge of collapse for a long time. The longer than anybody imagined. Kim Jong-Il's crowning achievement which can even eclipse Saddam's since the defeat in the Gulf War.
Bring home the US troops, stationed there, and prepare the "Atilla the Hun" bomb for delivery.
Has anyone told those Mongoloids that Truman is no longer President?
If NK strikes we get kicked in the grill. The Chinee didn't enter the war until we went into NK!
Clinton was blowing smoke rings out of his a-hole!
Thank you President Kim for strengthening our enemies.
The plan as purposed is certainly not feasible in a two front war, not if it requires the full strength of the Marines to come to bear on the peninsula.
I wonder also if we ould have the inventory in targeted bombs in the aftermath of Iraq.
Is OP 5027 reaslistic now ?
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