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S. Korea, U.S. Prepare for Post-Kim Jong Il Era

Posted September. 13, 2008 08:57,   


South Korea and the United States are preparing for a North Korea without leader Kim Jong Il, whose poor health could cause great instability in the North’s power structure, a Seoul government source said yesterday.

A high-ranking security official from Seoul visited Washington last week for talks on security issues and OPLAN 5029, a military contingency plan in the event of a drastic change in the North.

Seoul`s preparation is said to go beyond intelligence gathering, and include new action plans on preparation for reunification of the Korean Peninsula in the event of a dramatic event such as the North`s collapse.

This means the contingency plan drawn up by South Korean and U.S. forces is in its final stage.

“Right after the inauguration of the Lee Myung-bak administration, the government has worked on transforming Concept Plan 5029 to OPLAN 5029, which includes a military capability operation plan,” a Seoul official said.

“It’s safe to say Seoul and Washington have reached an agreement on the contingency plan.”

Security officials from the two sides confirmed last week that South Korea must lead the process of reunification of the Korean Peninsula. They also reportedly talked about a post-reunification era and relations with related countries.

“I heard the United States said a type of buffer zone within the Korean Peninsula is needed for smooth relations with China,” the official said.

Certain diplomats, however, warned that the security consultation between South Korea and the United States will likely provoke North Korea and other neighboring countries.