Tuesday, November 26, 2002

The Agence France-Presse (NORTH KOREA COULD USE TRANSPORTATION CORRIDOR AS INVASION ROUTE," 11/26/02) reported that a US army general said the DPRK could make use of transportation corridors under construction between the ROK and the DPRK as ready-made invasion routes to the ROK. US Major General James Soligan was responding to the DPRK's refusal to continue work on the road and rail links unless the US-led United Nations Command (UNC) gives up its control of the corridors in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that divides the two Koreas. "The North Koreans would like to create this corridor outside the demilitarized zone and outside the authority of the armistice agreement," Soligan said in an interview with cable television YTN. "That way, if they elected to, they could move combat forces into this corridor and challenge the security of South Korea.

Let's think about this for a couple of minutes:

1) The last time the DPRK invaded South Korea was over 50 years ago. How many more years will it take before we start to at least consider the possibility that the DPRK might not be poised to invade the moment we blink or drop our guard? Of course the same goes for the DPRK's claims that the evil Americans are waiting with baited breath the chance to strike and finish what they couldn't in 1950-53. Note that I am referring to a conventional attack here. The DPRK has engaged in clandestine covert operations any number of times since 1953. It is clear that the North Koreans don't need a train to send a few spies or suicidal soldiers south.

2) The Korean People's Army (KPA) has not engaged in armed combat since 1953. I think most will agree that all the training exercises in the world can not replicate combat conditions. Given this lack of experience, the nearly total implosion of the North Korean economy over the last decade, and the huge advances in technology on the U.S.-ROK side, how serious is the DPRK conventional threat?

3) Even if one concludes that the DPRK is intent on invading the south and poses a credible conventional threat, how hard would it be to take out the rail links with a few well-armed and well-aimed missiles?

I am no fan of the DPRK. It is a horribly repressive regime. The world would be a better place without it. But let's be reasonable shall we?

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