ROK scenario planning for DPRK power shift


North Korean Military: New Regime?  

If that happens, the report forecasts that the military is highly likely to control the government and independent units, such as the escort command, and the security command and the operation command will attempt to take control of the government by joining forces or individually.

Yesterday, Dong-A Ilbo obtained a report titled “North Korea’s Crisis Management System and Our Countermeasures” released by the information committee of the National Assembly. The report predicts that “we cannot rule out an abrupt collapse of the Kim Jong Il regime. But, given the neighboring countries do not have firm grounds for intervention, the fall of North Korea will happen gradually.” It was submitted to the committee on December 13 by three researchers of Peace Foundation, Cho Seong-ryeol, Kim Hak-rin and Kang dong-ho.

Kim Jong Il in Trouble in North Korean Emergency-

The report argues that a national crisis is likely to be caused when Kim Jong Il, the chief of the North’s Workers’ Party, the government and the military, is in trouble.

If that happens, the report forecasts that the military is highly likely to control the government and independent units, such as the escort command, and the security command and the operation command, will attempt to take control of the government by joining forces or individually.

In particular, it also expects Oh Geuk Ryeol, the 75-year-old operational director of the Workers’ Party who is considered to be the most powerful among Kim Jong Il’s cross associates, to act before others by utilizing his independent commanding authority and his elite unit equipped with advanced weapons.

The report says the first thing the North Korean military should do, after taking control, is to declare a national emergency in the name of the central military committee of the Workers’ Party, which is entitled to command and control all military power in the country according to Article 27 of the party rules. But the report also predicts that the national defense committee will be at the center of administration of power and that the new regime will maintain a group leader system temporarily.

Who Will Be the Acting Commander in Chief?-

According to the report, if the North engages in war with the outside world, the country is likely to shift an emergency control system with the commander in chief in its center, as it did during the Korean War.

Cho Myeong Rok, the 78-year-old director of the General Political Department of the Korean People’s Army, is highly likely to be appointed as a commander in chief by hierarchy. But, considering age and health, Kim Yeong Chun, the 70-year-old Chief of the General Staff of the Army responsible for military operation of the one million-strong forces, is the shoo-in, according to the report.

Establishment of the Succession System-

It has been analyzed that the establishment of a succession system is more urgent for Kim Jong Il than the overcoming of the economic crisis through reform and market opening or the formation of diplomatic ties with the U.S., since Kim is well aware that an emergency in the absence of the succession system will lead to a civil war.

For this reason, it says, chances are that Pyongyang will formalize the succession system internally in the first half of 2007, when internal cohesion following its nuclear test and the supportive atmosphere for the third-time succession of military authority to protect the vested interest of the “Military First politics” still remain.

The report also connects the gradual stabilization of the succession system and the resolution of the North’s nuclear problem. It estimates that Kim will demand approval of the succession system and massive economic assistance in return for denouncement of nuclear weapons, and that the Pyongyang-Washington ties will be normalized if Washington accepts the demand.

Korea Herald

N.K. general to lead if Kim loses power

A top military commander is expected to take the reins in North Korea in the event its leader Kim Jong-il loses power during an emergency, a South Korean parliamentary report said yesterday.

The report on a possible North Korean crisis pinpointed General Oh Geuk-ryul, chief of central combat operations of the Workers’ Party, as the strongest candidate to take contingency leadership of the communist country.

The report was written by the Peace Foundation, a private think tank on security affairs commissioned by the National Assembly Intelligence Committee.

The report said if Kim loses control, it will trigger fierce power struggles among leaders of different military groups such as Kim’s security guard, the Army headquarters, the intelligence command and the combat operations department.

None of them are in position to take control of the entire military. Kim is known to have controlled all military forces through a system of checks and balances among the several independent military groups. Each separate group is directed by Kim, with no influence on one another.

Among the powerful candidates, Oh, 74, is expected to take the lead in mobilizing his well-trained soldiers equipped with the North’s most modern weapons systems, the report said.

In the event the North Korean crisis triggers intervention from outside forces, the new leadership could fall under Kim Young-chun, deputy marshal of the Korean Peoples’ Army, the report expected.

Kim, 69, is likely to lead the North’s military in fighting against any foreign interventionist forces although Cho Myoung-rok, another deputy marshal of the KPA, is higher in rank, it said. Cho, 77, was cited as weaker than Kim due to his age and suspect health.

The report also said Pyongyang’s crisis may lead to the development of a crisis management system instead of the collapse of the North Korean regime.

The new authority is expected to exercise a military-led collective leadership after invoking martial law throughout the country, it said.

With regard to the possibility of North Korean military aggression, a full-scale invasion of South Korea is unlikely to occur at the time of such a crisis although the North could trigger local conflicts in frontline areas, the report said.

The report advised that South Korea needs to prepare to deal with the North’s new leadership and to enhance military preparedness for any possible clashes.


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