Seoul Overhauls N.Korea Contingency Plan

      January 14, 2010 09:01

      Seoul has recently made massive revisions to a North Korea contingency plan. A government source said on Wednesday previous contingency plans made during the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations "did not envisage sending government officials to North Korea even if a sudden change occurs there for fear of provoking the North. But the latest plan envisions our administrative agencies playing active roles in stabilizing and developing the North Korean region."

      The contingency plan envisages what the South Korean government would do administratively in an emergency in the North, in contrast to a joint U.S.-South Korean military operation plan that also exists.

      In an emergency, "an administrative office... headed by the unification minister will be launched to bring the North under emergency rule," the source said.

      The revision comes due to new realities since the last draft including North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's health problems, struggles for the succession, the North's nuclear tests, international sanctions, and the North's imploding economy.

      The Unification Ministry refuses to confirm the existence of such a contingency plan. But according to a 2008 government document obtained by the Chosun Ilbo, it exists. At the time, the government projected five kinds of emergency: Kim Jong-il's death; a power struggle and coup d'état; a popular uprising; mass defections; and sanctions and an attack from outside.

      If the two Koreas enter a reunification process after a sudden change in the North, a national unity committee will be established chaired by the South Korean president. The ministry and the National Intelligence Service have made revisions to the plan every year.

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