North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Kyok Sik Inspected Coastal Artillery Units on Yongmae

KPA Gen. Kim Kyok Sik (R) greeting the head of a Myanmarese delegation during a November 2008 visit. At the time Gen. Kim was Chief of the KPA General Staff

Yongmae (Ryo'ngmae) Island (Photo: Google image)

KPA Gen. Kim Kyok Sik (Kim Kyo’k-sik) reportedly inspected coastal artillery units on Yongmae Island in early August.  During the afternoon and evening on 10 August 2011 DPRK and ROK forces exchanged fire, after the DPRK launched rounds of artillery shells several of which landed near or across the NLL.  The DPRK denied that it fired artillery shells and ascribed the sounds to an ongoing land reclamation project on Yongmae.  The exchange of fire between ROK and the DPRK occurred six (6) days prior to the commencement of the US-ROK Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) exercises.  This caused Chinese commentators to observe that the DPRK may have fired artillery shells as a way to alleviate frustration (“a kid venting anger”) within KPA units deployed near the NLL.  Dong-a Ilbo reports:

Seoul intelligence learned that the North Korean officer inspected the combat preparedness of a coast artillery base on a Yellow Sea island on Aug. 10.

“It was an unprecedented move for a high-ranking North Korean military officer to visit Yongmae Island base, which is close to the Northern Limit Line,” the source said. “(South Korean) military intelligence focused on identifying the senior officer and finding out about his whereabouts.”

The officer who visited Yongmae was likely Kim Kyuk Sik, commander of the 4th Corps of the (North) Korean People’s Army. After being appointed to his post in early 2009, Kim led a naval skirmish with the South Korean Navy in November the same year.

He is also believed to have been deeply involved in the North’s torpedo attack on the South Korean naval corvette Cheonan and shelling of the frontline island of Yeonpyeong.

In addition, either Ri Yong Ho, chief of the Korean People`s Army General Staff, or Kim Yong Chol, director of the reconnaissance general bureau of the North`s People’s Armed Forces Ministry, are known to have inspected the unit.

Former KJI bodyguard and current head of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, Kim Yong Chol (Kim Yo'ng-ch'o'l) (L)

Ri Yong Ho (Ri Yo'ng-ho), current chief of the KPA General Staff

Photo of DPRK radar jamming factory from a November 2008 visit to the country by a Myanmarese military delegation

Prior to being appointed to his current command in February 2009, Kim Kyok Sik met and signed agreements with a Myanmarese military delegation.  The Myanmarese delegation visited a number of KPA and military industrial sites in November 2008, including a factory that produces radar jamming equipment.  Interestingly,  Arirang News (via Chosun Ilbo) reports on the DPRK’s development of a GPS jammer:

North Korea is developing a GPS jamming device that is capable of disrupting signals more than 100 km away, according to a Defense Ministry report to the National Assembly’s Defense Committee.

The report says North Korea has some 20 different kinds of communications and radar jamming equipment from the former Soviet Union and is currently developing new equipment which includes the GPS jamming device.

The North is said to have scores of military bases specializing in electronic warfare operations in various positions including some in the capital Pyongyang.

Vehicles and radar jamming equipment at a DPRK factory shown in a photo taken by a Myanmarese military delegation during their November 2008 visit to the DPRK

Robert Lee writes in Korea Herald:

The report by the Ministry of National Defense said the North imported some 20 different kinds of communication and radar jamming instruments from the then Soviet Union.

Submitted to the National Assembly’s Defense Committee, the report said the North is now believed to be developing new electronic warfare devices capable of jamming GPS signals within a radius of more than 100 km.

It is speculated that the North currently has deployed vehicles mounted with Russian-made GPS jammers with a range of 50 km to 100 km in two or three areas near the Military Demarcation Line.

The ministry has confirmed that the North has electronic warfare units in key locations throughout the country, including in a regiment in Pyongyang and in each of the frontline corps.

The ministry was unclear as to whether the North has developed electromagnetic pulse bombs, which can disrupt electronic devices through surges of electromagnetic radiation.

“No confirmation (of EMP bombs in the North), but considering the North Korean military’s tendency to develop electronic warfare devices and other countries’ efforts to develop EMP bombs, the North is likely to look to develop such bombs,” said an official.

According to military officials, when the North jammed GPS signals in Seoul and surrounding areas last March, it had some effect on the navigation systems of weapons that use common GPS signals. But the officials added that radar and inertial navigation systems were unaffected and that the military plans to replace common GPS signals with military GPS signals.

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