Thought for the Day

"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest." - Confucius

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Collapse of the North Korean regime appears inevitable, and the world needs to prepare for it (From Chinese Scholars)

In the South China Morning Post from two Chinese scholars.  I am somewhat optimistic that we are finally seeing so many people acknowledging the need to PREPARE for north Korean regime collapse.
 
Pretty strong words from China.
 
Excerpts:
 
Thus, while it is still hard to judge North Korea in full, there remains a high probability of regime collapse.
 
Unless Pyongyang gives up its nuclear programme, the byungjin strategy is bound to fail.
 
Even an economic recovery and improvement in people's livelihoods is unlikely to change this trend. Harsh sanctions have left many from the upper classes at odds with the leadership and led to a growing number of defectors. In the most recent case, 13 employees of a North Korean-run restaurant in Ningbo (寧波) defected to the South – the largest single group in the past decade.
 
Meet the North Korean defector and restaurateur who believes 'reunification of our country starts at the table'
Trouble usually arises within one's own boundaries. Once those who have benefited from the regime in the past start to become dissatisfied with the government and seek an escape route, the collapse of the Kim dynasty, built on the basis of lies and repression, is just around the corner. There may only be 10 to 15 years left for the Kim family to govern, and a collapse could begin at any time. So, how would such a scenario play out?
 
​I have pasted my thoughts on collapse below.  I would love to host a working group of military planners from the US. ROK. China, Russia, and Japan​ and put together a plan for each of the military contingents to present to their political leaders.

 
 

Collapse of the North Korean regime appears inevitable, and the world needs to prepare for it

Deng Yuwen and Huang Ting say the flimsy economic plan unveiled at the Workers' Party congress will do little to alleviate the country's crippling problems, which include severe food shortages and growing discontent


PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 May, 2016, 5:25pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 May, 2016, 5:25pm 
3 min read 

The seventh ruling Worker's Party congress in North Korea, the first in 36 years, turned out to be a coronation for Kim Jong-un, formalising the system centred on the young leader and promoting the party's status vis-à-vis the army's.

North Korea's 'rare' party congress only shows a country at a standstill

The national byungjin strategy, which calls for securing a nuclear arsenal while seeking to develop the economy, was re-emphasised.
A five-year plan was put forward to show the government's commitment to economic problems, especially the supply of electricity, as Kim admitted that a lack of power has affected economic development and improvement of people's living standards.
The general idea from the congress was thus that Pyongyang would devote greater efforts to economic reform, pay more attention to developing its economy and improve people's lives.
However, in reality, the plan merely opens the door to reform just a crack instead of pushing hard. Without such opening up, reforms will not make significant progress. So there is still much uncertainty over North Korea's future.

Improved access to education, health care and food in North Korea but right to freedom of movement and the right to life worsen, says new report

With the significant drop in grain output and reduction of food aid as a result of increased international sanctions, North Korea is this year facing the most serious food problem in recent years. According to the UN World Food Programme, there is already a shortfall of 1.1 million tonnes of food, and a quarter of children are severely malnourished.
There have been signs that Pyongyang is preparing to test a fifth nuclear weapon and more missiles. If Kim goes his own way, regardless of opposition from the international community, he will surely bring harsher sanctions upon his nation, which will affect his plan to build North Korea into economic power.
Thus, while it is still hard to judge North Korea in full, there remains a high probability of regime collapse.Unless Pyongyang gives up its nuclear programme, the byungjinstrategy is bound to fail.
Even an economic recovery and improvement in people's livelihoods is unlikely to change this trend. Harsh sanctions have left many from the upper classes at odds with the leadership and led to a growing number of defectors. In the most recent case, 13 employees of a North Korean-run restaurant in Ningbo (寧波) defected to the South – the largest single group in the past decade.

Meet the North Korean defector and restaurateur who believes 'reunification of our country starts at the table'

Trouble usually arises within one's own boundaries. Once those who have benefited from the regime in the past start to become dissatisfied with the government and seek an escape route, the collapse of the Kim dynasty, built on the basis of lies and repression, is just around the corner. There may only be 10 to 15 years left for the Kim family to govern, and a collapse could begin at any time. So, how would such a scenario play out?
There are several possibilities. First, if the economy fails to pick up in the long term, more people will be pushed into extreme poverty, causing general dissatisfaction with the government, leading to more and more people from all classes seeking to flee the country. Under such circumstances, the collapse only needs a catalyst.
With UN sanctions biting, it is impossible for Pyongyang to quickly solve the problems of food and electricity shortages.

Kim gets the party started, but will economic reforms follow?

Sanctions will increasingly isolate North Korea, preventing it from gaining the necessary funds, technology and assistance to spur growth. Thus, in the long term, with no economic recovery, dissatisfaction will grow among the people. With widespread poverty and general social discontent, it would be increasingly hard for the government to deal with any emergency caused by policy mistakes, something which is common in a totalitarian regime.
Second, in order to solve the problem of a lack of food to support a large army, Pyongyang would have to promote self-reliance among its citizens, relax control over the economy in a limited way and, to some extent, even allow some form of capitalism.
In its fragile state, North Korea would also be increasingly vulnerable to natural disasters. Without external aid, which has shored up the government in the past during such calamities, Pyongyang would find it difficult, if not impossible, to handle any natural or man-made disaster on its own.

Ordinary North Koreans are the true audience for Pyongyang's nuclear weapons tests

The possibility of an internal coup also exists; the moody and unstable nature of the totalitarian regime leads to fear and insecurity that could bubble over into a bloody internal power struggle.
It is believed that it was fear of a coup that prompted Kim to execute his uncle, Jang Song-taek, and other veterans. The congress seemed to further consolidate Kim's power, but its stability is very superficial and new dissenters could be created by the regime's actions at any moment.
Lastly, outside intervention, including a targeted assassination and military strikes, is possible. In terms of its capabilities, there would be little North Korea could do if the US decided to press ahead with such an option.
In such circumstances, it would be difficult for Kim and his family to survive challenges at home and abroad.
In any of the above scenarios, great calamity would befall a Pyongyang that is already suffering much stress and danger.
The collapse of North Korea is just a matter of time; it is important for the international community to realise this, explore the issue and be prepared for the inevitable chain reactions.
Deng Yuwen is a researcher at the Charhar Institute think tank. Huang Ting is a researcher at the Innovation and Development Institute, Shenzhen


​My thoughts as an outline/start point to begin planning discussions:
 
Korea and the future:  Some Thoughts

The "Big 5"
1. War
2. Regime Collapse
3. Human Rights Atrocities/Crimes Against Humanity
4. Nuclear and Missile Delivery Programs
5. Unification

Big 8 Contingencies
1. Provocations to gain political and economic concessions
2. nk Attack – execution of the nK campaign plan to reunify the peninsula by force
3. Civil War/Chaos/Anarchy
4. Refugee crisis
5. Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster relief
6. WMD, loss of control – seize and secure operations
7. Resistance to foreign intervention (e.g., insurgency)
8. How to handle the nKPA during regime collapse short of war

7 Steps of Preparation
1. Shared vision – a new durable political arrangement** (see below)
2. Roles & Missions  - national responsibilities for action
3. Organizational Framework for operations  (UNC/ROK/US CFC, independent operations, other)
4. Command, Control, Coordination, and liaison processes & methods (including information sharing)
5. Concept of operations for deploying required forces (air, land, and sea)
6. Resource commitment – which countries provide what
7. And most important  - information/psychological preparation of the environment – a sophisticated and aggressive information and influence activities campaign focused on the population to prepare then for the future (e.g., unification) and the "2d tier leadership" by using a combination of coercion and co-option.  – An "exit strategy" for 2d tier military leaders and party members outside the core elite.

Guiding Principles:
1.  Defense of ROK is paramount – all decisions must support defense of ROK against the full range of threats from the north.
2.  Must provide options to national policy makers – early decisions required to overcome the law of physics: time, distance, and space.  Must have the right capabilities in the right place for employment at the right time.
3.  Transparency is critical when dealing with the 5 Parties and international community.  Must have decisive and consistent themes and messages.  This is not the situation in which we should employ deception.  Only through clear articulation of alliance priorities and intent can we have a chancing at reducing the chance of conflict due to misunderstanding of intentions.  Examples for consideration (and these would be consistently expressed by the ROK/US Alliance.
            A.  Defense and Security of ROK is the number one priority.
            B. UNC and ROK/US CFC have the following priorities:
                        (1) Security of nuclear weapons, followed by chemical weapons and then the biological program
                        (2) Security, health, and welfare of the Korean people living in the north.
                        (3) UNC and ROK/US CFC desire to work with all interested nations to bring security, stability and long term peace to the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia.
                        (4) UNC and ROK/US CFC will support the establishment of a unified peninsula – a United Republic of Korea.


**Proposed new durable political arrangement: A stable, secure, peaceful, economically vibrant, non-nuclear peninsula, reunified under a liberal constitutional form of government determined by the Korean people:  A United Republic of Korea (UROK) orUnited Republic of Corea (UROC)





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