News / Asia

Secret Manual Gives Glimpse of North Korean Military Tactics

The recently leaked North Korean secret military manual.
The recently leaked North Korean secret military manual.

A military manual, said to have been smuggled out of North Korea, reveals Pyongyang’s concern about electronic warfare technology used by the United States and South Korea. The document also indicates North Korea’s military uses radar-absorbing paint and other stealth tactics to conceal its weapons.

Analysts studying the purported North Korean manual say Pyongyang has taken a variety of measures to redress the overwhelming military disadvantage it would face if war breaks out on the Korean peninsula. Though there is no way to be absolutely certain about the authenticity of the manual, South Korean and U.S. officials who have seen it consider the document to be genuine.

A long-time analyst of North Korea and its military, Daniel Pinkston of the International Crisis Group in Seoul, examined the document at VOA’s request.

He called it significant, saying "As far as their planning, their preparations, I think there's some useful information to take from this document."

The five-year-old handbook gives instructions on how to make radar-absorbing paint to help conceal jets, warships and tanks. It also explains how to fabricate decoys, pave bogus runways and deceive the enemy by having stationary units mimic the characteristics of those on the move. Such tactics have long been used by Western militaries.

Pinkston, a former U.S. Air Force analyst on North Korea, says the classified manual was likely distributed to commanders and other high-level military specialists concerned with electronic warfare.

"This is maybe a little bit surprising but there's a clear awareness early on in the document about the importance of electronics, communications systems, information, computers and how it affects command and control. There's a recognition if your command and control is impaired, then it has a serious impact on your ability to conduct military operations,” he said.

News of the document was first reported by the Chosun Ilbo. The Seoul newspaper quoted a South Korean intelligence expert as saying the North’s stealth tactics are more extensive than expected.

North and South Korea remain technically at war, since they never signed a peace treaty at the end of the Korean War in 1953. North Korea has more than a million troops, most of them based close to the Demilitarized Zone dividing the peninsula. South Korea has about 600,000 active duty troops, and the United States bases about 28,000 soldiers in the South.

While the North has more soldiers, military analysts say they are underequipped and their weapons are mostly old and outdated, especially compared with the high-technology arms of the U.S. and South Korea. The North, however, is suspected of having both biological and chemical weapons, and says it is building nuclear weapons as well.

VOA News obtained 48 of the document’s 80 pages from the Caleb Mission.

The small Christian organization, in the city of Cheonan, assists North Korean defectors. Its pastor, Kim Sung-eun, says his contacts in the reclusive communist state are willing to risk their lives and those of their families to get these kinds of documents out of North Korea.

The pastor says he is able to obtain some of Pyongyang’s military secrets because influential people in North Korea are working with his group.

The mission, by smuggling in and out of the country cameras resembling pens, also obtains clandestine video of life in North Korea, including at outdoor food markets. They provide a rare glimpse into current conditions inside the impoverished country.

North Korea tightly controls where the few outside visitor permitted into the country may go and what they can photograph or videotape.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid