Part 1 of "The Crocodile Kids" is concerned with specific aspects
of the way in which the North Korean government continues to wage war
against the South up to the present day. It is intended to provide the
reader with some background information relevant to Part 2. The author
has made a sincere effort to ensure that all of the information in Part
1 is true and is prepared to correct any inaccuracies.
PART 1 - THE 35th ROOM -
"Infiltration by submarine has become almost commonplace in the last twenty years"
Major Troy P. Krause, "Countering North Korean Special Purpose Forces" April 1994.
(Declassified US Department of Defense Report - AU/ACSC/102/1999-04)
"The fact that the submarine infiltrated across our coastal sea areas is a clear armed provocation
and a violation of the armistice agreement."
Major General Lim Choung-Bin - June 1998
"The submarine incident will not shake our Sunshine Policy. The government will try even harder to embrace
the North, with patience." Spokesman for the South Korean President, Kim Dae Jung - June 1998
A huge amount of time, money and effort is spent to gain an insight
into the tactics and capabilities of the North Korean military. Some
of the information we have on this subject comes as a result of this
gathering work, despite the intense secrecy maintained by the North
Korean government. The rest of it comes from a
more interesting, and perhaps more reliable source. Occasionally the
veil of secrecy slips, and something that
had been hidden is revealed, by accident or design.
On the day before Hallowe'en, 1968, North Korean Special Forces
landed at eight different locations along the South Korean
coastline. Their motivations can only be guessed at, but certain
speculations may be
made. The first is that the relatively small sized and unsupported
infiltration group was not seriously intended to be the first stage
of a full scale invasion, and from this first conclusion we may suppose
that the Special Forces troops were perhaps instead intended to
operate as a guerrila warfare or terrorist cadre, meant to test the
defences of the South before disappearing into their target to complete
a specific mission. What that mission was remains a mystery.
The Combined Forces Command of the USA and South Korea quickly
mobilised over 70,000 troops in order to repel the invaders, 110 of
whom were killed at a cost of 63 South Korean lives, including 23
civilians. The remainder of the North Korean force escaped into the
South or back home.
Earlier that year a North Korean Special Forces group had managed to
penetrate to within one kilometre of the "Blue House"; the South
Korean presidential residence, and in this case their motive is a
little easier to guess.
The soldiers were caught when two South Korean woodcutters, who had
been taken prisoner upon discovering the commandos by chance in a
nearby forest, were released as the North Koreans had almost reached
The North Koreans were presumably confident that their misson would
The two South Korean woodcutters, again by chance, were almost immediately met on the highway by a passing police patrol.
The presidential security team was placed on
high alert, and the local garrison surrounded the Blue House with South Korean and American soldiers.
The South Korean President came extremely close to being assassinated that evening. It was luck, more than anything
else, that spared him and cost the would-be assassins their lives.
As a result of these and other attacks it became clear that a response
was required. The US, South Korean and Japanese governments intensified and coordinated their intelligence gathering
activities, and began to direct more and more assets to investigating the disposition of the North Korean Special Forces.
Their agents discovered that in 1967 certain elements of the Reconaissance Agency of the North Korean People's Army
and the Foreign Intelligence Department of the Worker's Party had been reorganised under the direct control
of the Office of the Chairman of the National Defense Commission - Kim Jong Il.
These previously separate divisions
were merged and initially commissioned to form 8 "Special Battalions" of a total of 2,400 men from existing branches
of the North Korean Special Forces.
The command centre of this new elite Special Forces unit is unofficially referred to within the North Korean government
as "the 35th Room". It was created in order to plan and execute operations inserting Special Forces commandos into
the South in order to carry out activites including intelligence gathering, guerrilla warfare and long term "sleeper cell"
terrorism. Since it started work there have been many publicly documented cases of North Korean intelligence agents
trying, sometimes failing, to get in and back out of South Korea, usually by submarine.
The US military acknowledges that this is almost impossible to prevent.
Notably, in 1983 the 35th Room managed to commit an act of terrorism on Burmese soil which killed 16 South Koreans,
among them four cabinet ministers and the ambassador to Burma. The 35th Room had extended its theatre of operations, since
then it has been responsible for dozens, perhaps hundreds, of kidnappings and assorted acts of international terrorism.
Recently declassified analyses originating from high ranking members of the the Japanese Self Defense Forces
indicate that the 35th Room, which has been operating now for over forty years, has risen to a place at the
top of the North Korean "Military First" hierarchy. It is impossible to know the full extent to which the 35th Room
has been able to successfully place undercover operatives inside South Korea, it is impossible for those of us living
on the other side of the Military Demarcation Line to know the nature of the plans that are being formed and carried out
right now by the 35th Room and its Special Battalions.
It may be impossible for us to know, but it is not impossible for us to imagine. Part 2 is just a story