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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid