Kim, Dong Yon North Korea Analyst
A. North Korea Sources hinted the Kim Jong’s visit to South Korea between 14th~16th.
Many have speculated after the 17th but it is highly possible Kim will come prior to the 17th.
The 17th of December is the 7th death anniversary of Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il.
North Korea will brag about their accomplishment from Seoul Summit on the date of the 7th anniversary on 17th, therefore it is a better option for North Korea to visit South prior to the 17th.
B. In November Both Koreas already had a series of meetings regarding Kim Jong Un’s air travel: security, air route, and protocol. Therefore It is highly possible Kim will come to Seoul by Air.
Other consideration of transportation:
C. Travel by automobile, South Korea Conservatives will not welcome his visit that they can resist his visit by block the ground paths. When Moon traveled to Panmunjom for the 1st Summit, Conservatives blocked the road, therefore, Moon bypasses them with the military roads. Based on this, Kim will not come by road for his unassured security. Also, if some people throw things at him, the global media will capture the image of ruined visit, North Korea will not accept the such failed propaganda opportunity.
D. Travel by Train, Both Korea uses not the same train railroad systems, North Korea’s train cannot travel to South Korea railroads. Interoperability is not yet fulfilled. Such a process will take a long time that Kim will never make to Seoul before the end of this year. Moon already officially claimed South Korea wants to invite Kim before the end of this year. Therefore Kim’s visit by Train is low in possibility.
Recent Issues prior to Seoul Summit
E. November 2nd, Moon Jae In said inside his aircraft for the visit to New Zealand, “we welcome Kim’s visit to Seoul with two open palms of hands,” this expression in English would be we welcome you with the two open arms. At the end of this claim, Moon added, “in order to make this (Kim’s visit to Seoul) happen, people of South Korea please understand the inconvenience which could caused by Kim Jong Un’s visit.”
This comment hinted North Korea’s heavy security protocol during Kim’s visit to seoul.
F. Late November China intruded KADIZ (Korea Air Identification Zone) multiple times with their long-range strategic bombers. The frequency of intrusion was unprecedentedly many at a short time. This could be the North Korea’s request to China to check the South Korea air route and security. North Korea has no long-range bombers to travel far down to South Korea also they cannot go around the KADIZ. Therefore North Korea could have requested China to help.
G. December 8th North Korea sent two air assets towards South Korea, South Korea responded immediately with the Fighter Jets.
This could be the preliminary drill to check South Korea Air defense Readiness for the North Korea’s visit to Seoul by the Air.
North Korea’s visit to Seoul by Air: MIG-29s to Seoul
1. When VIP air travels, Airforce must provide Air Escort, therefore North Korea will deploy their best fighter jets, Mig-29. The minimum Air Escort formation is the 1 formation which consists of two Mig-29s.
Mig-29’s capability speculated by the experts, it is known to comparable to South Korea Air Force’s KF-16 (F-16).
2. The Minimum armament requirements for the Air Escort is the 2 Air to Air missiles (AIM) per fighter jets. These missiles for the safety of VIP when the Bogey’s sudden attack on the VIP, Air Escort can intercept such intrusion by these Air to Air missiles.
If you apply these combinations to the Kim Jong Un’s visit to Seoul, Kim Jong Un’s VIP aircraft IL-62M (참매-1) will be accompanied with at least 2 Mig-29s with 2 Air to Air Missiles per each Mig, a total of 4 Air to Air missiles. These are the minimum requirements. Kim can increase the Number of Migs, and more missiles.
Kim can equip his Escorts Mig-29s with more than minimum armaments which can include, Air to Surface armaments to protect his VIP aircraft from the Surface to Air Attack.
3. According to South Korea Intel, NIS, Kim Jong Un is known as the Safety-phobic that he came to Panmunjom for the 1st summit in April, his Mercedes-Benz Pullman Guard was guarded by the 12 bodyguards. Based on this, Kim Jong Un will never trust South Korea provided Air protocol to Kim’s Aircraft.
There is one main reason, South Korea sent Air Escorts to Kim’s VIP aircraft also armed with the 2 AIM missiles per fighter jet, Kim cannot guarantee the safety of these missiles.
These missiles can be fire upon Kim’s aircraft rather protect the aircraft. Such suspicion and distrust made a concrete reason for Kim Jong Un to bring his own Air Escorts, Mig-29s.
4. A Security-phobic Kim Jong Un will come by Air if there is No Military Aircrafts activity by South Korea/USFK. If South Korea Air Force flies in the air during his visit then he will not come to South Korea due to lack of assurance of the safety. South Korea Air Force and USAF on a regular basis, do their military exercise in the Air Area, these exercises often involve the armored exercises. Again, Kim Jong Un will afraid of any Military Aircraft with the armaments.
This means Kim will request the Moon administration for the No Fly Time and No Fly Zone during his visit to Seoul.
5. Based on Pro-North Korea stance, Moonshine policy, Moon has shown multiple times throughout the past summit and official talks with North Korea, Moon agreed with all the request from North Korea prior to the meetings. Therefore If Kim Jong Un request South Korea to let North Korea bring our own guards, Air Escort, Mig-29s to South Korea, it is highly possible to accept such proposal.
6. Not only North Korea-driven Air Escort but also North Korea-driven Air Combat Patrol can be proposed by Kim Jong Un. During Kim’s stay in South Korea, North Korea wants to make sure there is no ISR above him or South Korea or the US Airforce Asset to bombard on him. So Kim will bring extra guarding air crafts during his visit. This is known as a CAP (Combat Air Patrol). This is based on the VIP protocol that when there is a summit, host country must provide CAP, but again, Kim will distrust South Korea Air Force’s CAP during his stay, in case those South Korea CAP can drop the bomb on him.
Therefore North Korea will bring separate Mig-29s for their CAP, North Korea Mig-29s will continuously fly above South Korea during Kim’s stay in South Korea. During this time, South Korea military aircraft cannot fly due to Kim’s Security-phobic problem. During this time, South Korean civilian aircraft will pass near these North Korea CAP, Mig-29s with full armament. Can we assure the safety of International Civilian Aircrafts’ Security?
Additionally, If North Korea Air Force’ Mig-29s fly during Kim’s visit, these Migs need to be refueled, therefore South Korea Air Force bases may provide the refueling service to them. Such refueling is a violation of UNSCR and the US Sanctions, secondary boycotts.
7. In 2014, North Korea-sent UAVs found near South Korea Presidential Office, the Blue House. According to South Korea DOD (MND), they found that the UAVs were equipped with the High Definition Cameras and they had many Aerial photos above the Presidential Office and other strategically important points in South Korea.
If North Korea visit Seoul by Air, South Korea provide North Korea to ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) over the entire peninsula.
8. Two Koreas agreed to invite Kim Jong Un to the Jeju Island, Halla Mountain in South Korea. This is a responsive visit of Baek Du Mountain during Moon’s visit to Pyongyang. However, Jeju Island is located in the farthest Southern part of South Korea. If this happens, North Korea Aircrafts need to penetrate the entire peninsula Vertically (longitudinally) and this will provide them to capture the entire image of South Korea from the air, including USFK camps and bases: Osan AFB, Kunsan AFB, and Missile Defense post.