Citing Radio Free Asia, the Chosun Ilbo is reporting that North Korean special forces have been conducting since mid-December large-scale drills to attack South Korea’s five West Sea islands, including Yeonpyeong-do.
A Chinese source familiar with the North told RFA that the drills were taking place in the waters off Nampo. For those with an interest in these sort of things, the source also revealed some of the North’s operational plans, which he apparently heard from a North Korean military official during a visit to Pyongyang. On a moonless night, coastal artillery from the KPA’s Fourth Corps would open up on the Five Islands, after which special force operators would take inflatable rafts to the islands and occupy them.
The source said North Korea believes that since the islands are far from the South Korean mainland, it would difficult for the South to send immediate reinforcements, and that the South would not be able to launch a counter-attack even if the islands were occupied since the North has nuclear weapons. The source also said the North is drawing up detailed plans to occupy the islands permanently, at least partially based on the premise that US—ROK forces would find it difficult to launch counterattacks if the North took the Five Islands’ civilians hostage. Lovely.
As you can imagine, Ye Olde Chosun has been getting its North Korea on in recent weeks. I haven’t done the numbers, but I’ve been seeing a lot of stories from RFA and Open Radio for North Korea. I guess what I’m trying to say is I’d take what I read with a grain of salt.
Oh, and also in North Korean military news, the KPA is reportedly sporting new threads:
Some North Korean troops stationed along the border have donned a camouflage uniform similar to that worn by South Koreans, apparently to practise intrusion drills, a defence ministry official said Tuesday.
The move prompted the South to advance the supply of new uniforms for its own troops to avoid confusion, the official told journalists in a background briefing.
“It’s been confirmed some North Korean frontline troops are wearing uniforms with woodland camouflage pattern which is similar to those of South Korean uniforms,” the official said.
“Our judgment is that the North’s special forces stationed there are staging intrusion drills wearing the uniforms.”
The South’s military has begun supplying new “digital camouflage” uniforms and is considering speeding up the distribution following the North’s move.