S.Korea Must Use Its Own 'Asymmetric' Warfare

  • By Kang Chol-hwan from the Chosun Ilbo's News Desk

    December 13, 2010 13:04

    Kang Chol-hwan

    Since the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan and shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, the North Korean regime has been telling its armed forces that the South is nothing special and can be beaten with ease. The two successful provocations have given the People's Army a new boost of confidence.

    It is therefore important to equip the five West Sea islands near North Korea with defenses that are visibly strong enough to counter North Korean attacks. But in fact the combined South Korean and U.S. forces can already overwhelm the North in overall firepower, even if the North is successful in small local skirmishes.

    The South's retaliation must be effective in preventing further provocations, and it is not using the weapons the North Korean regime is most scared of to their full potential. It is not only the North that has so-called "asymmetrical" military powers like nuclear weapons and missiles. The South, too, has such asymmetrical advantages. Whatever Kim Jong-il dreads most is the most effective weapon.  

    The international community is applying economic sanctions against the North to little effect. However isolated it may be externally, there exists little danger that the system will crumble, because the regime and military control the population completely.

    The Kim Jong-il regime is most scared of two things. One is mass defections. If the people simply flee one by one, the regime will crumble very quickly. That is why the North Korea-China border is regarded as a second front and guarded by regular troops. The other is that knowledge about outside world through South Korean radio broadcasts, propaganda leaflets and TV programs can shake the North Korean system at the root. The South’s most powerful asymmetric weapon, therefore, is information that can enlighten 20 million North Korean people. 

    The South has never filed a proper protest with the Chinese government against the repatriation of North Korean refugees. Under the Constitution, North Koreans are South Korean citizens. The South Korean government is responsible for all North Koreans who protest against the Kim Jong-il regime by means of defection. It must fully mobilize its diplomatic capacities to stop the tragedy of North Korean refugees being caught by Chinese security forces and sent back to the North. The president must formally raise the issue with the Chinese leadership and put money and effort into helping more North Koreans leave the country for freedom.

    There should also be more leaflets and radio broadcasts to the North. Large quantities of food could also be attached to helium balloons and floated to the North. North Korean troops secretly eat instant noodles South Korean forces sent to the North by balloons prior to the Kim Dae-jung administration. What would happen if instant noodles are scattered throughout Hwanghae Province? Having lived in North Korea, I know that this would deal a severe blow to the regime. The South must awaken to the fact that its weapons are stronger than any arms Kim Jong-il has.

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