N. Korea conducting drills to occupy Five West Sea Islands

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.

  • Craash

    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.

    and woodland camouflage uniforms on the DMZ.

    Moonless nights – January 4th~6th, February 2nd~4th…..

    would they really invade on Seolnar? makes sense – half of Seoul’s population will be down South of the peninsular and the other half would be drunken.

  • Hamilton

    Could nK actually take an island? Maybe, but discounting the mass required and the pre-staging of materials our intell would have to ignore it misses a big point.

    Seizing the islands or even one or two would be a colossal mistake for North Korea. The islands have some economic value but are not key terrain or strategically critical although they do give a nice view into Hwanghae they don’t do much for north Korea.
    Once they have it or even just a sizeable landing force ashore they are totally screwed. The Assault would need overwhelming numbers, ruthless execution and phenomenally quick execution. That is the easy part. Getting anything else ashore, be that a single mad dog killer commando or a can of Juche’ soup would be the hard part. South Korean air force assets and artillery would hammer what made it to the island and keep anything else from making it there. South Korea would be able to choose the time and place of a re-taking of the area.

    Aside from taking as many hostages as possible, which isn’t going to go over well internationally nK would get a few days of fist bumping morale at best before the pasting began.

    It would be fun to see the contortions Chinese and Russian diplomats put themselves into to justify the invasion.

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  • Granfalloon

    Ditto what Hamilton said. Would love to see North Korea try to maintain a supply line to an occupied island. Good fuckin’ luck.

    Also, why a “moonless night?” I thought South Korean night vision capabilities were light years ahead of North Korea’s.

  • belair716_

    From JoongAng Ilbo – [6·25 전쟁 60년] 대구에서 품은 강군의 꿈 (235) 북한은 바다에 나설 수 없었다

    The article in Korean – article no. 235, part of the memoir series by General 백 선엽 (Baik Seonyeob)
    http://article.joinsmsn.com/news/article/article.asp?ctg=12&Total_ID=4824497

    *** The memoir by General Baik on Korean war is a series of articles appeared in JoongAng Ilbo for the entire year of 2010, commemorating the 60th anniversary of Korean war.

    *** General Bail Seonyeob (1920 ~) is a highly decorated and well-distinguished Korean war veteran who led many memorable victories during the Korean war by his bravery and intelligent operations. He took twice the office of Chief of General Staff of South Korean Army (대한 민국 육군 참모 총장) and during the Korean war fought in cooperation with, or under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, General Walton Walker, General Matthew Ridgway, General Frank Milburn and General James Van Fleet. His memoir – besides his experience of the Korean war, the main topic – includes anecdotes of, encounters with and influences from a few historical figures such as General MacArthur, South Korean President Lee SeungMan, the U. S. Presdient Dwight Eisenhower, and then a young soldier (and later the South Korean president) Park JeongHee.

    And (the former) General Staff of South Korean Army Baik says – quoted from the article:

    “특히 서해의 NLL과 관련해서는 반드시 우리가 알아야 할 사항이 하나 있다. 그저 아군이 막강한 제해권과 제공권을 앞세우고 서해 5도를 차지한 것이 아니다. 만일 적군에게 서해 5도를 내준다면, 대한민국의 수도인 서울은 그 특유의 기능을 유지하기가 힘들어진다. 일단 백령도와 연평도, 대청도와 소청도 등이 북한의 손에 넘어간다면 수도 서울의 한강은 바로 ‘죽은 강’으로 변해 버린다.”

    Obviously, the Five West Sea Islands are not just a few distant Islands far away from the South Korean mainland. Their strategic and economic importance is critical: if the Islands are occupied by the North, Seoul cannot properly function as the Capital City and the Han-gang (한강) will become a dead river.

    Also quoted from the article:

    “서해에서는 더욱 그랬다. 미군 함대는 지금의 해상 북방한계선(NLL)에서 훨씬 넘어들어간 북한의 해상에서 작전을 벌였다. 평양과 붙어 있는 남포는 물론이고, 압록강 하구인 용암포 일대까지 미 해군이 장악하고 있었다.”

    At least, in the past (during the Korean war), it was American Navy that took these islands and NLL related waters.

    Also quoted from the article:

    “따라서 NLL 바로 남쪽의 서해 5도를 두고 휴전협상 시기와 그 이후 20~30년 동안 별다른 이의를 제기하지 못하다가 최근 들어서 점차 목소리를 높이고 있는 북한의 입장은 들을 필요도 없는 것이다. 아군은 당시 먼저 도발한 북한군에 비해 훨씬 우수한 해·공군력을 유지했고, 아울러 수도 서울과 경기 북부 일원을 지키기 위한 필수불가결한 조치로 서해 5도에 대한 자위권을 확보한 것이다.”

    Thus I believe that the Five West Sea Islands and the NLL-related waters belong to South Korea in every respect – legally, historically, diplomatically. The North has been silent for past decades and it all of a sudden just this year claims its right, which has never been part of the North’s territory.

  • http://www.tapchidanong.org/categories/Hap-dan/Thoi-trang-nam/ thanghn92

    Aside from taking as many hostages as possible, which isn’t going to go
    over well internationally nK would get a few days of fist bumping
    morale at best before the pasting began thoi trang FiFa Online 3 giay nam gia vang thoi trang nam tu vi mon ngon

  • Nguyễn Hùng

    Could nK actually take an island? Maybe, but discounting the mass required and the pre-staging of materials our intell would have to ignore it misses a big point.

    Seizing the islands or even one or two would be a colossal mistake for North Korea. The islands have some economic value but are not key terrain or strategically critical although they do give a nice view into Hwanghae they don’t do much for north Korea.

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