US Reviews War Plan on N. Korea
By Jung Sung-ki
The Korean Times
10 - 16- 06
The United States is mapping out a new theater war plan on the Korean Peninsula aimed at striking weapons of mass destruction in North Korea, reports said yesterday, citing an unidentified Chinese defense expert in Canada.
The U.S. move comes after North Korea's self-proclaimed nuclear weapon test on Oct. 9.
According to the report, the United States is considering a plan against North Korea to neutralize Pyongyang's nuclear capability with overwhelming use of the U.S. Air Force.
Whether the new plan is related to the joint contingency plan with South Korea, dubbed OPLAN 5027, was not confirmed.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) declined to comment on the report.
Under the envisaged plan, U.S. combat aircraft and bombers, such as F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighters and F-15Es, would conduct ``surgical strikes'' on major weapons of mass destruction (WMD) facilities, training sites, and intelligence and communication facilities in the North instead of ground forces advancing into the North, the report said.
OPLAN 5027, drawn up by the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC), aims to deter North Korean forces armed with conventional weapons. The South Korean and U.S. militaries review the contingency scheme every year and update it in accordance with the security situation.
Washington is reportedly committed to dispatching some 690,000 troops with 1,600 aircraft and 160 ships to the peninsula within 90 days after a war breaks out under OPLAN 5027.
The plan, however, lacks specific actions to cope with a nuclear war.
Since Pyongyang's nuclear test, the South Korean military has also stepped up preparations for a possible nuclear war on the peninsula.
Sources at the JCS said last week that Seoul is reviewing OPLAN 5027 to address North Korea's missile and nuclear threats.
The JCS has submitted two reports to Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung since Oct. 3 when Pyongyang announced its plan to conduct a nuclear test, they said.