North Korea had already decided to redeploy troops to guard posts within the Mt. Kumgang Tourist Region, Kaesong Industrial Complex and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) during the Central Military Committee (CMC)’s expanded meeting last month, Daily NK has learned.
A spokesperson from North Korea’s General Staff Department (GSD) announced last Wednesday that the country was reviewing specific military action plans against South Korea and that “Units of the regiment level and necessary firepower sub-units with defence mission [sic] will be deployed in the Mt Kumgang tourist area and the Kaesong Industrial Zone where the sovereignty of our Republic [North Korea] is exercised.”
The spokesman also noted that “The KPA General Staff will work out these military action plans against [the] enemy in more detail and present them to the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea for ratification at an earliest date.” This suggests that these plans have not been cleared by the country’s leadership (Kim Jong Un) yet.
A high-level government source in North Korea told Daily NK that these plans were already decided upon at the CMC’s expanded meeting last month. According to him, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un raised the issue of deploying troops during the meeting, and military leaders immediately responded that “the Supreme Leader’s orders must be carried out” and began reviewing ways to implement the order.
That being said, the statement released by the GSD spokesperson the day after Kim Yo Jong ordered the inter-Korean liaison office to be blown up appears to be aimed at strengthening her authority, the source said.
In other words, the release of a series of military announcements following the destruction of the liaison office was meant to show that Kim Yo Jong is exerting influence over the military – despite the fact, of course, that she does not have the authority to order such a thing herself.
“The Supreme Leader [Kim Jong Un] has authority over the military, but it appears that North Korea wants outsiders to believe that Comrade Kim Yo Jong is also involved,” the source told Daily NK. “All of these recent actions are motivated by a need to increase her revolutionary achievements.”
FORTIFYING KUMGANG AND KAESONG
The GSD’s statement last Wednesday announced that units from the North Korean army and navy will be deployed to the Mt. Kumgang Tourist Region. In addition to ships under the 1st Naval Fleet, two extra formations will be deployed alongside a rocket launcher regiment under the 1st Corps.
Military units under the East Sea Fleet’s 1st Naval Group are stationed at Changjon Port, which is nearby the Mt. Kumgang Tourist Region. In November last year, Daily NK reported that certain 1st Naval Group units previously deployed in Namae Village, Kosong County, Kangwon Province, had been moved to Changjon Port.
Civil police posts, which are responsible for guarding the area around the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), will also be deployed to the Kaesong Industrial Complex along with a firepower unit under the 2nd Corps.
Although the GSD spokesperson stated that the military units sent to Mt. Kumgang and Kaesong will be focused on “defensive” activities, a quick look at the scope of weapons being transported with these units suggests that North Korea aims to turn the area into a launching pad for military activities.
These regiments are equipped with recently deployed mid- and long-range artillery weaponry, including anti-aircraft batteries and coastal artillery guns.
“The newly deployed firepower units will carry out joint firepower target practice on the front-lines,” the source told Daily NK. “North Korea’s leadership plans to strengthen its military presence and fortify these locations while carrying out military drills with fully-armed units.”
The statement by the GSD spokesperson on Wednesday also noted that North Korea “will resume all kinds of regular military exercises in the areas close to the boundary.”
The spokesperson’s statement further revealed that “areas (districts) favorable for scattering leaflets against the south will open on the whole front line and our people’s drive for scattering leaflets will be guaranteed militarily and thorough-going security measures will be taken.”
The plan to “scatter leaflets” had already been submitted to the Central Committee on the morning of June 16, right before the liaison office was blown up, according to Daily NK’s source.
“Once the plan to send leaflets is ratified [signed off by Kim Jong Un], the Reconnaissance General Bureau and other departments responsible for espionage activities toward South Korea will begin conducting the [leaflets] campaign on the front lines,” the source said, adding, “The leaflets campaign will be reported up the line as an operation against the enemy.”
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