SEOUL, Nov. 7 (UPI) — South Korea should be prepared for a multinational intervention in the event of “sudden changes” on the Korean peninsula, and be ready to prevent Chinese military deployment, an analyst said on Tuesday.
Hong Hyun-ik, a senior researcher at the Sejong Institute, a South Korean think tank, said it would be an “urgent” priority for Seoul to block Chinese interference in the case of a political crisis in North Korea, Yonhap reported.
South Korea must make sure North Korea’s territory falls under Seoul’s jurisdiction before another power makes the claim, Hong said.
The possibility that a third party could move on North Korea is real in the event of an emergency, according to the analyst.
“China needs a new friendly regime in the North, and has a reason to want to secure weapons of mass destruction,” Hong said.
The researcher stated there are several scenarios in the event of a crisis such as a collapse, including the involvement of United Nations peacekeeping forces, some other type of multinational coalition, or a U.S.-South Korea joint intervention.
Hong also said the United States would prioritize the securing of nuclear weapons in North Korea, but China would concentrate on securing influence in the area.
“In the event of a sudden change in North Korea, China would quickly block the border in order to prevent a mass inflow of North Koreans,” Hong said. The move could involve the deployment of Chinese troops into North Korea.
“Creating a buffer zone [against refugees] would be the most natural justification,” for Chinese troop deployment, Hong said.
The analyst recommended the United States and South Korea, with support from the United Nations, take countermeasures against Chinese intervention by creating a buffer zone of refugee camps where North Koreans would receive assistance.
On Tuesday U.S. and South Korea forces continued joint drills, this time simulating a helicopter deployment into North Korean territory, Yonhap reported.