North Korea’s Tunnel Network Is Impressive (But Not Invulnerable)

    Asia Times

    Security, Asia

    Here is how America could even the fight with Pyongyang.

    A recent article described a newly noted but apparently abandoned railroad tunnel in North Korea, located near Dancheon on the east coast roughly midway between Hamhung and Chongjin. It could be used for raising mushrooms (yes, seriously), document storage or military use – nobody really knows.

    The lack of information regarding military usage cries out for discussion, for North Korea has used tunnels and other underground structures for a multitude of military and civil-defense purposes for decades.

    Military uses

    Discoveries beginning in the 1970s showed that North Korea had dug at least four infiltration tunnels into South Korean territory from its side of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that splits the North from the South. The tunnels are tall and wide enough to accommodate moving great numbers of personnel – even small vehicles – and are thought to be stealth invasion routes for surprise attacks on the South. There may be as many as 20 such, so far undetected.

    Moreover, in 2004 Pyongyang ordered the construction of between 800 and 1,200 underground bunkers for troop concentrations near the DMZ. According to defector reports, these underground storage sites are said to contain enough gear to equip 1,500 to 2,000 soldiers. Even though some of the bunkers were intended to be decoys, the total number remains unknown.

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