ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on May 2nd, 2012 at 8:49 am

Could Incheon International Airport Be the Next Target of A North Korean Provocation?

» by in: North Korea

The North Koreans are at again with their GPS jammers:

Jamming signals thought to be from North Korea have affected GPS navigation on at least 250 flights, South Korean officials say.

Nine South Korean and nine foreign airlines have been affected since Saturday, the Transport Ministry said.

The flights had to rely on alternative navigation systems but were in no danger, the ministry added.

The South has accused the North – with which it remains technically at war – of similar incidents in the past.

“We’ve confirmed the GPS [global positioning system] jamming signals have been stemming from the North,” Lee Kyung-woo, deputy director at Seoul’s Korea Communications Commission, was quoted by Agence-France Presse news agency as saying.

The transport ministry has not set out who was to blame. But director Kim Choon-oh told the agency the GPS disruption was noticeable at Incheon international airport.

He said there was “no serious threat to the safety of flights because planes are using other navigation devices”.

South Korea has accused Pyongyang of jamming before, in August 2010 and March 2011.  [BBC]

This is nothing new with reports about the North Korean GPS jammers going back to 2008 and them using them to cause trouble as recently as this past September.  The North Koreans are probably just looking for a simple way to make some headlines while at the same time marketing their GPS jamming technology that they have reportedly been interested in trying to export in the past.

I am really not concerned about the GPS jammers posing a safety threat to aircraft landing at Incheon International Airport, but something I have been concerned about is possibly North Korea launching some kind of provocation against the airport in order to disrupt airline traffic into Korea thus damaging the South’s economy.  The most extreme provocation would be them attempting to shoot down an airliner with the excuse that it flew over their airspace near the disputed West Sea border.  However, imagine what would happen if they launched an artillery attack against the airport?

Google Earth measurements show that the airport is roughly about 38 kilometers which makes it a long shot for conventional artillery but well within the range of the rocket artillery that North Korea has.  Even if such an attack did little damage and didn’t even kill anyone it would probably be many weeks before the airlines get air traffic back to normal at Incheon.  I doubt the North Koreans would do something as provocative as this without manufacturing an excuse why they did it.  So such a provocation would likely only happen after some kind of border incident that they created and then can use to say they launched the airport attack in response to some sort of aggression from South Korea.

I would think that something as strategically important as Incheon International Airport being attacked that South Korea would have no choice but to respond strongly against the provocation with some kind of limited military response.  So what does everyone else think, should the ROK be concerned about a North Korean provocation directed towards the airport?  If so how should they respond?

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  • 2ID Doc
    10:24 am on May 2nd, 2012 1

    I think even the DPRK military won’t shoot long-range weapons across the DMZ, unless it is a prelude to the next Korean War. They are much more likely to build a suitcase bomb, to make it look more like terrorism.

  • Teadrinker
    5:06 pm on May 2nd, 2012 2

    Attacking Incheon Airport, thus endangering travelers from around the world (including Chinese and Russians), would bring the end of the communist regime in North Korea.

  • Tom Langley
    7:47 pm on May 2nd, 2012 3

    After the sinking of the ROK Naval vessel & the shelling of the island I think the SK public understands that the sunshine (appeasement) policy has never & will never work. I have a feeling that the next time the communist NK start some stuff that the ROK Army will hit back & hit back hard. I hope this is not wishful thinking on my part. NK is a failed state & I think a hard hitting response by the ROK Army will show this fact to the NK authorities. The failed rocket launch was an embarrassment to Kim Jong-un. NK aggression followed by a strong ROK response may cause the manure to hit the fan in NK.

  • Hamilton
    9:08 pm on May 2nd, 2012 4

    #2 TD, that didn’t deter them too much when they blew up KAL 002.

    They had no way of knowing who would actually be on the flight and even in 1983 the chances of 1 or more Chinese or Russians on board would have been average. As it was they killed a Vietnamese Citizen who was a great ally at the time (Cold War, Big Soviet Union still in place). They also killed an Iranian, big time US enemy then and now and a major trading partner in weaponry.

    I wouldn’t dismiss an attack on Incheon Airport so easily. They have never been too squeemish about collateral aka the Burma Bombing. They will try to avoid Chinese and Russian citizens but I doubt it would stop an attack and they will of course claim that they are innocent and victims in all of this.

  • Jinro Dukkohbi
    10:02 pm on May 2nd, 2012 5

    #3 – as far as the Cheonan-sinking goes, unfortunately a sizable segment of the population here either thinks that:

    a) The Norks didn’t really sink the ship and it’s all some big conspiracy, plus throw-in a few scoops of ‘the US was possibly involved’…

    or

    b) It was sunk because there was not *enough* sunshine policy going on – LMB is so ‘mean’ for pulling SK workers out of the Keumgangsan complex and cancelling any future tours (even though the Norks shot a SK tourist who was there >dead< a couple of years ago).

    It's a shame, but the general attitude towards that subject when you ask the average young person (20s-30s) on the street is apathy. It doesn't really affect them so whatever and/or it's all LMB's and the US's fault. It would truly take (IMO) something like the shelling of Incheon Int'l Airport or downtown Seoul to wake people up and realize these guys aren't out for peaceful coexistence or any other kind-of nice, warm fuzzy idea like that. I would really like to see some of the people who believe in that BS to try and go up there and live. A little time in the gulag might change their minds as well… :roll:

  • Hamilton
    10:58 pm on May 2nd, 2012 6

    #5 That’s why NK will not be doing a shelling, they know they didn’t get good press on that one. They are stupid but not moronic, they repeat things that either work or almost work with the exeception of their ICBM program.

    The Cheonan is more along the lines of what they will try.

    Bombings don’t require a delivery system other than an agent of group of sympathisers. If they want to cause fear then it might be a chemical agent. They don’t need a lot of casualties. They do need a patsy, probably a Japanese-Korean or Chinese-Korean kind of like the one who killed Park Chung Hee’s wife.

    Then the conspiracy nuts will swarm out with not a single theory placed at NK, just at SK and the US.

    Just my opinion.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    11:32 am on May 3rd, 2012 7

    @2 – They don’t necessarily have to hit the airport terminal. All they have to do is fire 3 or 4 rockets that land somewhere near the airport. It is a big island and they should be able to target the airport without actually hitting the terminal buildings. They don’t have to kill anyone for the provocation to be successful. In fact they would probably prefer not to kill anyone because if the ROK responds strongly to the attack the North Koreans leftist allies in the ROK and their international allies like the Chinese can claim that the ROK response is heavy handed.

    By having the rockets land somewhere near the airport it would cause air travel to be temporarily shut down causing huge economic impacts on South Korea. If they can tie the provocation in response to something they claim the South did to them such as one of their ships being sunk in a West Sea naval skirmish they can then shift blame for the provocation on the ROK government. As we have seen with the Cheonan attack there is enough leftists in South Korea to create a perception of blame for the attack put on the ROK government.

  • Teadrinker
    6:39 pm on May 3rd, 2012 8

    #4,

    Cold War has been over for 20 years and way back then, the South Korean armed forces hadn’t outpaced North Korea’s by decades yet.

  • Teadrinker
    6:39 pm on May 3rd, 2012 9

    #7,

    Good point.

  • Don Ho
    10:57 pm on May 10th, 2012 10

    I think the DPRK will use an underpants bomb. That way if it goes off and doesn’t quite work but blows the wearer’s nuts off, DPRK won’t lose face. They’ll say it was just some guy with exploding testicles. :mrgreen:

 

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