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New Administration Pursues US-ROK Contingency Plans on N.Korea

New Administration Pursues US-ROK Contingency Plans on N.Korea

Posted February. 04, 2008 03:04,   


The Defense Ministry is planning to create a joint plan with the United States to cope with possible internal unrest in North Korea after the Lee Myung-bak administration comes into office.

According to military sources, the ministry reported last month a US-Korea joint plan to the transition committee in preparation for possible contingencies in North Korea from March to the end of this year.

Though the details of the plan have not been unveiled yet, military experts see that the “OPLAN 5029,” a war plan that the current administration had tried to carry out but failed, is likely to be resumed.

Since 2004, the US-ROK military forces have been discussing OPLAN 5029, which contains military strategies in case of contingencies in North Korea such as a political turmoil and the massive escape of North Koreans, natural disasters including floods and earthquakes and the regime’s loss of control over weapons of mass destruction including nuclear and biochemical weapons.

In January 2005, the National Security Council stopped the discussion on the plan, citing possible sovereignty violations. In December 2006, the US-ROK forces agreed to complement and develop CONPLAN 5029, which do not include detailed military operation plans, before implementing OPLAN 5029.

Some speculate that apart from OPLAN 5029, the forces will map out new contingency plans headed by South Korea and supported by the United States.

Experts have pointed out that given the transfer of wartime operational command to South Korea by 2012, Seoul needs its own military plan to take the lead in transporting North Koreans to safe areas in case of a massive escape and to offer humanitarian aid supplies in case of natural disasters.

Amid mounting concern that North Korea will become more unstable politically, economically, and socially, not to mention due to nuclear issues, experts argue that over the next five years under the new administration, the US-Korea joint system should be strengthened.

Korea University Professor Kim Seong-han, who is behind the diplomatic and security policies of President-elect Lee Myung-bak, argued in an academic gathering hosted by the University of North Korean Studies on Feb. 1, “In case that North Korea fails to adapt to ongoing changes, South Korea and the U.S. should upgrade COPLAN 5029, designed to intervene in case of internal instability or the regime collapse in North Korea, into OPLAN 5029.”

“The current administration was too conscious of North Korea to review contingency plans thoroughly. With the new administration taking office, efforts to strengthen the US-ROK cooperation will be intensified in an attempt to recover the alliance between the two countries,” said a military source.

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