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ROK intelligence agency allegedly warned Japan of possible coup d’etat in DPRK army

(Shukan Bunshun: February 25, 2016 – pp. 35-36)


 The ROK suspended operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea as a very unusual sanction in reaction to North Korea’s nuclear test on Jan. 6 and missile launch on Feb. 7. A Japanese correspondent in Seoul pointed out that this was a measure “at an entirely different level” from previous ones because the ROK has invested nearly 100 billion yen in this industrial park.


 ROK companies at the industrial complex hire over 50,000 North Korean workers and have paid over 61 billion yen for their wages so far, 70% of which was channeled to “Office No. 39” to be used for the development of nuclear arms and missiles. The ROK government stressed that the suspension of operations is meant to cut off the flow of funds.


 However, a Japanese government source revealed that at the time of the missile launch, a ROK intelligence agency informed the Japanese government that “there are signs of unrest in the Korean People’s Army.”


 This Japanese source reckoned that the ROK had grounds to believe that a coup d’etat might occur so it closed down the Kaesong complex, where around 800 South Koreans normally work, to evacuate them quickly and prevent them from becoming hostages in the event of a contingency.


 The ROK had never provided such advance “warning” to Japan before. The above source pointed out that while Japan and the U.S. monitor developments in North Korea through radio interception, the ROK is way superior in obtaining inside information through HUMINT because it has many collaborators inside the North Korean armed forces.


 In response to this information, the U.S. quickly sent the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment to South Korea, purportedly to participate in joint U.S.-ROK exercises next month. However, this regiment excels in covert long-distance reconnaissance in enemy territory, so it is fully possible that the deployment is also meant to deal with an emergency in the North Korean military. (Summary)

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