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Gov`t, US Prepare Draft for NK Contingency Plan

Posted February. 09, 2010 16:13,   


South Korea and the U.S. have prepared a draft for OPLAN 5029 in case of a North Korean contingency, a government source in Seoul said yesterday.

Through a repeated tabletop exercise, both sides are tackling issues identified in the process. Seoul had denied official confirmation of the operation plan.

“OPLAN 5029 clearly exists but is still called a ‘conceptual plan’ within the government. Since the launch of the Lee Myung-bak administration, working-level military officials of both nations have conducted a joint tabletop exercise based on the OPLAN 5029 draft and made improvements.”

“Though there’ve been several tabletop exercises, no real exercise has been conducted yet.”

A tabletop exercise moves around troops and equipment on the map with key institutions and military facilities marked.

The U.S. military led the development of OPLAN 5029 in 2004 with the then Kim Dae-jung administration, including a military operation plan such as mobilization and deployment of troops in addition to the conceptual plan.

This was put on hold, however, when the National Security Council in Seoul spoke of a “possible violation of sovereignty” under the Roh Moo-hyun administration.

OPLAN 5029 is known to have been resumed with the launch of the incumbent administration in 2008.

The plan is known to prepare for five to six North Korean contingencies: civil war from a power transition and military coup; seizure or outflow of weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear and biochemical weapons; a massive outflow of North Korean defectors; outbreak of a major natural disaster; and the kidnapping of South Koreans in North Korea.

In addition, an “umbrella agreement” serving as the foundation for OPLAN 5029 was reportedly signed under the Kim Young-sam administration. A military official said, “(South) Korea and the U.S. already signed the umbrella agreement, which is the basis for the conceptual plan and OPLAN 5029, in 1997.”

The South Korean and American defense ministers agreed on conditions for military action against North Korea in the umbrella agreement, the official said. The conditions were limited to when both Koreas or South Korea and the U.S. agree to military action or when the United Nations makes a request or a resolution.

In the case of military action, the Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea will take command instead of the commander-in-chief of the U.N. Command.

The military official said, “Back then, the U.S. said the use of military action should be possible even if North Korea and the U.S. agree on military action. Seoul opposed this idea, however, so the number of conditions was narrowed to three.”

“The agreement wasn’t legally binding but wasn’t discarded, so the umbrella agreement could be said to have served as the basis for OPLAN 5029.”