– A South Korean military official who asked not to be named told the JoongAng Ilbo that Korea and the United States signed in June a new operation plan (OPLAN) which would guide joint military operations in the event of a war with North Korea. What’s interesting about this OPLAN is that unlike the OPLANs of the past, which called for the allies to respond to a North Korean invasion by falling back to assigned locations, waiting for reinforcements and counterattacking, the latest plan – called OPLAN 5015 – calls for launching an immediate counterattack sans retreat, and operations to take out North Korea’s missiles, nukes and other WMDs, something the JoongAng calls a “virtual preemptive attack.”
The military official said offensive punch has grown significantly with its development of nuclear weapons and missiles and the OPLAN was changed because the South would suffer too many losses unless the North’s offensive power was blunted quickly.
That’s not all. The military official said OPLAN 5015 also includes joint plans to respond to localized North Korean provocations. Seoul had been calling for such a joint action plan, but Washington had been worried that the South Korean military might overreact to a provocation and blow things up into a full-scale war. Now, however, the United States would provide support with its own weapons in the case of a localized North Korean provocation should such support be needed. The official said the United States’ basic position is to deter North Korean provocations and maintain the peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, but the new OPLAN greatly reflects the South Korean position.
MARMOT’S NOTE: Seems to me Seoul is trying to keep the North Koreans honest by scaring them with the United States, something the South Koreans have done before. Not sure how the Americans are going to feel about leaking this stuff to the press, though.
– Speaking of Korea-US military cooperation, SBS laments the fact that during the last crisis, South Korea was almost completely dependent on US intelligence gathering and strategic weaponry. It was the United States that detected the disappearance of North Korea’s submarine fleet. It was the United States that detected the movement of North Korean hovercrafts south towards the DMZ. Seoul had to rely on American strategic assets to respond to North Korea’s show of force.
SBS concludes with some quality whinging about how South Korea has been prevented by “surrounding nations” (but really, mostly the United States) from developing nuclear submarines and missile/rocket systems that could be used to deter the North or launch spy satellites into space. Mind you, these complaints are in large part justified IMHO, but me thinks a large part of the problem is simply bureaucratic inertia – Korea has been relying so long on US intelligence and strategic assets that it’s simply easier to keep doing so rather than change it. And perhaps that’s not such a bad thing – alliances, like all organizations, need a division of labor, and perhaps its more efficient to rely on the Americans to do what they do best – like high-tech intelligence gathering and strategic air and sea assets.
– Heo Yeong-il, the vice spokesperson for the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, has resigned after he posted on Facebook that he “respects” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Well, he actually said he respected both South Korean president Park Geun-hye and Comrade Kim for making tough decisions during the latest crisis, and that he actually respected Park more for making the really tough call, but that was enough for people to call for his head. In announcing his resignation, he apologized to the two soldiers who had their legs blown off at the DMZ and explained that all he was trying to do convey to people how much he wanted peace and reunification.
PHOTO: Joint Korea-US exercises in 2011. © Republic of Korea Armed Forces