A violent insurgency could arise in North Korea if leader Kim Jong-il's monolithic regime collapses, a U.S. military figure speculates.
Col. David Maxwell, who heads the Strategic Initiatives Group at the U.S. Army's Special Operations Command, offered the view in a presentation at the Marines Corps University in Quantico, Virginia last Wednesday. He said the North's special operations forces could launch suicide attacks and the 7 million well-trained reserve forces may start riots.
Maxwell had a role in formulating a joint South Korea-U.S. conceptual plan for a sudden change in the North. He stressed the need to work out a plan in preparation for the regime collapse on the assumption that "the North Korean people will not welcome the South Korean military, international forces or anybody outside of North Korea" in case Kim's dynastic regime collapses.
The insurgency could be based on the "juche" or self-reliance doctrine to resist and try to overthrow occupation forces, he predicted. Non-state combatants in the North will pose irregular "hybrid" threats, he claimed, and the "irregular warfare joint operating concept" used in Iraq and Afghanistan should be applied, he said.
He called for increased preparedness for dealing with the North's military, which will in all likelihood take power after regime collapse, and efforts to influence North Koreans through NGOs.
The U.S. and South Korean militaries are preparing a fresh operational plan to prepare for sudden changes in the North such as a civil war, a coup, and mass defection. Details have not been made public.