Posts Tagged ‘Kim Jong Il’
North Korea launched another Rocket east today in it’s latest attempt to piss off the UN Security council. It is rather like a neighbour throwing hand grenades into your garden, how long would you put up with that for?
The North Korean Army is one of the largest in the world, and one of the most lavishly equipped. It consists of twenty Army corps, divided into 175 divisions and brigades. We must remember that North Korea has no Marines, so some of the ground forces are occasionally packed off to sea.
The North Korean army started out as a volunteer force in China in 1939, from where it advanced south after Japan’s defeat.
It’s command and control chain runs on two channels. Firstly the orders come from the National Defence Commission, and from their through the Chiefs of Staff. At the same time Political control is retained by the Peoples Workers Party’s Central Military Commitee. The ultimate commander is Kim Jong Il, who has never fought a battle or commanded even the smallest military formation without some help.
The army has two Armoured Corps (i.e. tanks), most of which are of Soviet or Chinese origin. These are broken down into brigades, as the Supreme Leader is nervous of the Army mounting a coup. The army is largely motorised with enough Armoured Personnel Carriers to deploy large scale Infantry units. Their skills at navigation and deployment are yet to be tested. There is so much we don’t know about North Korea.
North Korea does, however, bristle with Artillery, particularly anti-aircraft guns. Any air strikes over North Korea would be hazardous affairs.
It is hard to know what to make of the North Korean infantryman. We know he will be well versed in communist propaganda and slogans but is he a true believer? Does he want to escape to the west? Does he have much contact with his family and sweetheart? How much is he paid? How much is he taxed? Is he a fanatic or a pragmatist? We know Commissars are attached to every unit, but how much sway do they really have?
What little information I have given here is nearly ten years old, which tells you something of the secretive nature of this communist regime.
Next: The North Korean Air Force
Say hello to North Korea.
Just to take our minds off Swine flu and the Recession they have let off a few rockets and had themselves a little underground nuclear explosion.
While every country has the right to defend itself it doesn’t really need nuclear weapons to do it. The rockets in question (not nuclear tipped at the time) were fired over Japanese air space, an overtly hostile act.
This is bad news for the region in general, particularly South Korea, traditional enemy of the North..
The Korean war 1950-53 claimed 3 million lives and has never officially ended, a mere truce was called. Talks to arrange a treaty have never happened.
The two Koreas are separated by a Demilitarized zone that runs the full length of the peninsular. From behind barbed wire and trenches the two countries have eyed each other suspiciously since.
North Korea is a by-product of the Second World war, when it was occupied, north and south, by the Russians and Americans respectively. After the two armies withdrew the planned all-Korean elections never happened. The Soviet puppet government was led by Kim Il Sung, a dedicated Communist guerrilla. It was he who founded the North Korean state in 1948.
The Korean war broke out in 1950 claiming 3.5 million lives. After three years of offensive and counter offensive the two sides settled down on the armistice line. After the war Sung was restored as leader and took the country from a Communist rule to an outright Stalinist one. He banned foreign travel, importing and exporting goods, and nationalised and collectivized the country to within an inch of it’s life. He developed for himself a bizarre personality cult where he was worshiped, much as Hirahito was in wartime Japan. North Korea disappeared behind an iron curtain from where they have never reappeared.
After the fall of Communism North Korea was deprived of it’s economic lifeline with the USSR and it’s sluggish economy began to rapidly decline.
In 1994 the ‘Great Leader’ died, leaving his eldest son to take the reigns of power. Kim Jong Il’s first years did not go well, with two years of immense flooding and famine followed by a two year drought. By then his country was down to just 18% of arable land and hunger was rampant. Jong’s new policy was to give the military priority over everything, above all, food. His power base comes from the army, and he uses it to control the millions of North Koreans he holds in his police-state.
Korea has had nuclear power for some time, but it’s power stations were closed down after sanctions and pressure from the US and China. In the late nineties they started up again and began manufacturing nuclear warheads. Jong’s government claimed it needed them for ‘Defence against US agression’. The US is reported to have nuclear weapons silos in situ in South Korea.
Some people think Kim Jong Il is long dead. It is known that he was diabetic and may have suffered a fatal stroke as long ago as 2000. He is known to have employed several stand ins, just as Stalin and Saddam Hussain did. Rumours abound that he was in negotiations with more moderate and liberal groups of North Koreans to bring foreign governments to peace talks. If the North Korean military that Jong relied on to support his rule overthrew him, they could be using one of his stand ins as a front man.
It is not helped that Jong is a classic Bond villain with a very mysterious personality. He has an explosive temper and a habit of making people disappear if they do not see his point of view.
He commands the People’s army, a body of 1.2 million men divided into the army, navy, air force, artillery and state security. This force costs North Korea six billion US dollars a year. The people’s Navy has a limited range capacity and is mostly a defence and coast guard unit. The people’s air force too has limited range and capability. The most advanced branch of the Military is Korea’s Artillery Guidance Bureau. Now it is these boys who have the missiles, very similar to the ones Saddam Hussain allegedly had. Some are silo based, others have mobile transporters. But their biggest toys are North Korea’s Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). These could launch a warhead with either a chemical, biological or nuclear capability. Their range and accuracy is hard to judge but they could prove very bad news for South Korea or Japan.
So they are the forces arrayed against us led by this mysterious figure. Now all we need is a plan to deal with him, while fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Any army has to be UN sponsored, and most likely US and Japan led. Korea is an attractive war for certain US Generals. Unlike the Taliban or Al Qaeda, this is a cold war army they were trained to fight in West Point. They stand up and charge, they drive tanks, they fire and take flanks. Now this is the kind of war the west likes to fight, where you can see and fight your enemy on the battlefield. Much easier than that fighting in the hills act so common in Afghanistan.