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, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More