Defence experts have raised the alarm of a possible destabilisation of the Asian region in case of the death of North Korea’s President, Kim Jung-un.
There have been questions of like events that may take place in the aftermath of Kim’s demise in the nuclear-armed Hermit Kingdom, amid reports that the North Korean dictator was fighting for his life after undergoing emergency surgery.
Experts are of the belief that his death would destabalise the region, create massive refugee flow and force the United States, US; South Korea and possibly other regional allies to deal with the turmoil.
Retired South Korean Lieutenant General Chun In-Bum, former head of his country’s special operations forces, told US Military Times that there would be “chaos, human suffering, instability and bad news for everyone.”
Warning that any plans by South Korea/US alliance to move into North Korea in a post-Kim era could have a devastating impact, he said, “What are we going to do? March in there? Let the Chinese do it.
“North Korea is a sovereign country. Anyone going in there, including the Chinese, would be crazy.
“The South Korea/US alliance has a bad plan with bad assumptions. It will get us into a nuclear war.”
Former US serviceman, Colonel David Maxwell, now a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies think tank, said that a lack of clear succession plan would set chaos into motion in North Korea.
Kim Il Sung designated his son successor in 1973 and the Kim Il-sung designated his son success in 2009 or 2010.
A retired Special Forces commander, Col Maxwell, said, “It is unknown whether Kim Jong-un has designated a successor.
“We can speculate that perhaps his sister, Kim Yo-Jong, has been designated as his successor, based on her recent promotion and the fact she has begun making official statements in her name beginning last month.
“But it is unknown whether a woman, despite being part of the Paektu bloodline, could become the leader of the Kim family regime.”
Maxwell added that having no clear successor could spark a regime collapse with the Kim leadership and the Workers Party of Korea unable to govern or maintain military cohesion and support.
Warning that there would a lot of possible bad outcomes a South Korean/US alliance must be prepared to handle, Maxwell added that military planners has already been briefing senior leaders on what could transpire.
He predicted that a “humanitarian disaster would unfold in North Korea” and warned that it would be further complicated by the coronavirus pandemic.
He told Military Times, “South Korea, China, and Japan are going to have to deal with potential large scale refugee flows.
“Units of the North Korean People’s Army are going to compete for resources and survival.
“This will lead to internal conflict among units and could escalate to widespread civil war.”
He however warned that even such internal strife would not dampen North Korea’s animosity toward the outside world or its willingness to go to war, saying, “Since North Korea is a guerrilla dynasty built on the myth of anti-Japanese partisan warfare, we can expect large numbers of the military – 1.2 million active duty and 6 million reserves – to resist any and all outside foreign intervention to include from South Korea.”
Also highlighting the problems in dealing with Kim’s huge arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, Maxwell said, “The South Korean/US alliance is going to have to be prepared to secure and render safe the entire WMD program, nuclear, chemical, biological weapons and stockpiles, manufacturing facilities, and scientists and technicians.
“This is a contingency operation that will make Afghanistan and Iraq pale in comparison.”