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N. Korea revised ‘detailed operational guidelines for wartime’

N. Korea revised ‘detailed operational guidelines for wartime’

Posted August. 22, 2013 04:49,   


The new “detailed operational guidelines for wartime,” prepared by North Korea last year, have included a provision that enables the Stalinist state to declare a state of war when pro-North Korean forces in South Korea demand, it has been confirmed. This is the first time that the North’s revision of its detailed operational guidelines for wartimes and their contents have been revealed since the death of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in December 2011.

According to informed sources on North Korea, the country revised the “detailed operational guidelines for wartime” in September 2012, which The Dong-A Ilbo acquired a summarized version of the document on Wednesday.

In the 2012 version, the North created a provision on “timing for declaration of war,” which didn’t exist in the previous guidelines enacted in 2004. There are three cases wherein a war is declared. The first is a case where the U.S. and South Korea confirm their intention to start war of invasion, or make military aggression into the northern section of the Republic (North Korea). This indicates the possibility for the North to launch military provocation by raising issue with South Korea-U.S. joint military drills, or the South Korean military’s single-handed exercise. The Ulchi Focus Guardian (UFG) that began Monday is also included in this category.

The second is defined as a case where patriotic capacities in South Korea demand support, or a situation favorable for the reunification of the Korean Peninsula is prepared in and around North Korea. “Patriotic capacities in South Korea” refer to pro-North Korean forces in the South, representing the North’s open intention that if those forces cause social unrest including massive violent demonstrations, Pyongyang could seek the reunification of the peninsula by force at the pretext of supporting those forces. The third is a case where “military provocations launched in a local area by the U.S. and South Korea spread widely.” This implies the possibility that the North could start provocation at a local area such as border areas including the Northern Limit Line on the West Sea, before starting a full-scale warfare by citing the conflict as an excuse.

The detailed principles also newly added to the purposes of declaration of “protection of the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun,” where the bodies of North Korea’s founder Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il are preserved. Additionally, the guidelines changed the supervisory organization for wartime operation from the National Defense Commission to the Central Military Committee of the North Korean Workers’ Party. This is the reflection of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s shifting of the focal point for his power operation that was military-centered to a party-centered operation.

The authority to declare a state of war has also been changed from independent decision by the “supreme commander” to “collective order” by the party’s Central Military Committee, the National Defense Commission, and the Supreme Command. Experts judge that this change is meant to promote the formality of the organizations of supreme authority making collective decision through consultations. Meanwhile, in the “detailed operational guidelines for quasi-state of war,” which was revised in August 2012, the North defined that it will declare “quasi-state of war” in the event of defamation of supreme dignity, conduct of South Korea and the U.S. joint military provocation at frontlines or in waters, and launch of act of aggression that infringes upon its supreme interests. Quasi-state of war refers to a situation wherein the North is prepared to immediately cope with war, and it also has been declared four times including the hijacking of the U.S. naval intelligence ship Pueblo in 1968.