Planning for the Future: How South Korea and the USA Will Deal with North Korean Collapse or Internal Crisis



This chapter is an analysis of the key issues involved in a joint/combined ROK-US military operation in the event of a collapse or other catastrophe in North Korea. It will address key military issues, some of the likely scenarios where these issues would arise, and the potential political factors in South Korea, the United States, and the international community that would likely occur. China is likely to be a major concern — making diplomacy with Beijing a vital issue. The Chinese are unlikely to agree to anything unless it is very clear to the world that North Korea is obviously in the throes of collapse, civil war, or complete anarchy. South Korea does not have all of the resources or the military capabilities to carry out such an operation on its own — but it should lead any efforts to intervene in North Korea because ultimately this is a Korean issue.


contingency planning North Korean collapse North Korean military reunification ROK-US alliance 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 14.
    Kim Sung Chull, North Korea under Kim Jong Il: From Consolidation to Systemic Dissonance (New York: State University of New York Press, 2006), 89–91.Google Scholar
  2. 23.
    For an example of analysis that reflects the view that North Korea will be more of an economic problem for reunification the longer it exists as a nation-state, see David Coghlan, Prospects from Korean Reunification (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, April 2008), URL: Scholar
  3. 24.
    See Andrew Scobell and John M. Sanford, North Korea’s Military Threat: Pyongyang’s Conventional Forces, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Ballistic Missiles, Strategic Studies Institute Monograph (Carlisle, PA: US Army War College, April 2007), URL: Scholar
  4. 38.
    Some portions of this chapter were originally published in Bruce E. Bechtol Jr., “Planning for the Future: Conditions of Combined ROK-US Military Intervention in DPRK Contingencies,” The Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, Vol. 24, No. 4 (December, 2012), 489–502.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Bruce E. Bechtol, Jr. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Angelo State UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations