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N.K. not in situation to launch full-blown warfare

Posted August. 24, 2015 07:14,   


Pyongyang reportedly is not in a situation internally that it can carry out a local warfare. The North had warned the South that unless South Korea stops (propaganda) broadcasting towards North Korea through loudspeakers within 48 hours, the North will not rule out a full-blown war." According to sources on North Korean affairs, core military equipment in the North were engaged in last-stage drills to participate at a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean Workers’ Party on October 10.

Analysts say the North has chosen to attend the high-level inter-Korean talks between authorities in a surprise move because it sought to resolve the dilemma from "48-hour ultimatum" that Kim Jong Un had openly announced. That is, if the North does not take actions within 48 hours, Kim will lose authority significantly, and even if the North makes provocation but ends up suffering a blow due to South Korea’s counterattacks, Kim could inevitably lose face significantly as well.

○ Core military equipment mobilized for parade

Currently, North Korean military troops who are mobilized for the military parade are fully engaged in last-stage drills at Mirim Airport on the outskirts of Pyongyang.

“Troops of 30,000 soldiers are preparing for the military parade at Kim Jong Un’s instruction to prepare the parade at a larger scale than the military parade for China’s Victory Day on September 3, and almost all core military equipment has been mobilized,” sources on North Korean affairs said. The military parade that China will hold on September 3 to mark the 70th Victory Day will entail participation by 12,000-strong troops.

“North Korea’s elite mechanical combat equipment and fighter jets were mobilized en masse,” a source said. “Notably, the North has just a few mobile missile launch vehicles, and many of the vehicles in good conditions that can be used at real warfare have been moved to Pyongyang.”

Troops who will participate at the military parade were recruited mostly from Ninth Corps in North Hamkyong Province and 12th Corps Jakang Province, which are hinterland units, college students in Pyongyang, but core equipment used for demonstration of its military capability have been reportedly mobilized from field units. If the North starts local warfare, its military units that were divided into two groups and whose core equipment was mobilized to Pyongyang will inevitably see their operational capacity decline significantly.

If the North ends the drill for military parade and returns the equipment to their respective military units in order to conduct provocations against the South, the event marking the North Korean Workers’ Party’s founding that Pyongyang has been aggressively preparing will go up in smoke. The North is exerting so intensive efforts to organize the event marking the Workers’ Party’s founding that it is even selling foreigners tourism products that combine attendance at the parade and mass gymnastic games.

○ What is motive behind ‘quasi state of warfare’

The fact North Korea declared "quasi-state of war" only in frontline areas is related to its mobilizing of people nationwide to "100-day combat," while conducting massive construction projects across the country. The North Korean authority declared 100 days from July 1 to October 10 as a period of "construction combat," and has mobilized people day and night to complete construction projects. Kim also placed order to complete major construction projects by September 9, the day of North Korea’s founding. If quasi-state of war is declared across the nation, all construction projects will come to a halt, and people must start preparation for war. Then, the efforts to complete massive construction projects on the anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers Party and to promote Kim Jong Un’s achievements will go up in smoke.

The project that the North is most devoted at present is the Science and Technology Hall and Future Scientists’ Street, which are under construction at 100,000 sq. meter land on Sooksom Island on the Taedong River in Pyongyang. Pyongyang is mobilizing tens of thousands of soldiers and residents and supplying oil that should be supplied to the military preferentially to the site of construction, which is nearing its completion.

○ N.K.’s artillery units not ready for warfare

The North Korean military’s artillery capacity, which is far inferior to that of the South Korean military, is another factor that causes Pyongyang to be reluctant to launch military provocations. If the North launches artillery strikes at South Korea’s loudspeakers and if the South Korean military launch counterattacks, chances are high that the two sides will enter artillery engagement, but the North’s artillery units are reportedly not ready to engage in firepower.

According to sources on North Korean affairs, Kim Jong Un paid a surprise visit in April last year to a self-propelled artillery unit and inspected combat readiness, and the unit reportedly was able to move three hours later than the time Kim had guided, and only one shell fell near the target. Angered by the situation, Kim instantly dismissed the battalion and demoted all generals at the corps by one level.

When the North launched artillery attacks on Yeonpyeong Island in November 2010, it had its elite artillery unit exercise for three months, but about half of the North’s artillery shells failed to reach the large island only 12 kilometers away, and half fell of them into the waters. Even among the shells that fell onto the island, many were collected later as blind shells. “Since shells are kept at underground pits where temperatures and humidity are not maintained due to lack of electricity supply, it is questionable whether artillery shells will function properly,” a North Korean solider-turned defector said. “If artillery warfare starts, the North could potentially become a mockery of the world.”