S.Korea, U.S. Plans for N.Korea Collapse Take Shape

Seoul wants the provisional governments of five North Korean provinces and a related committee to join annual South Korea-U.S. joint exercises. They are to take part in a drill to practice stabilizing the North and transferring power to a civilian administration after a hypothetical North Korean invasion has been successfully defeated and the North overrun.

Once power is transferred to a civilian administration, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security and the provisional governments will take charge of replacing North Korean government agencies.

"The plans for operations to stabilize North Korea in the wake of a full-scale war or a sudden change in the North are taking more concrete shape," a government source said Sunday. "As part of the plans it wants the committee for the five northern Korean provinces and other agencies to join the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise." The next drill takes place this August.

However, the ministry may first let only a handful of senior officials observe the drills, with their entire staff participating from next year. The provisional governments are largely nominal for the time being, and many members concurrently have other jobs and will need time to streamline their organizations.

Such stabilization operations have so far been limited to tabletop exercises, but once the agencies take part in the joint drills the approach will become more practical.

The two countries also staged drills preparing for collapse of the North Korean regime as part of the Key Resolve/Foal Eagle joint exercises in February.

englishnews@chosun.com / May 16, 2011 09:27 KST