South Korea is reinforcing its defense against North Korea including executing a new warfare plan against its weapons of mass destruction and deploying new cruise missiles capable of striking any North Korean location, officials said Wednesday.
The Defense Ministry said it would unveil the new long-range missiles within the week.
“We have developed and deployed a cruise missile system with world-class precision and destructive force that can strike any location in North Korea,” Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said.
The plan was unveiled one day after the North conducted a third nuclear test which highlighted the critical gap in its defense between the two Koreas.
The efficacy of the South’s missile capabilities is said to be limited against North Korea’s mobile targets. North Korea is thought to be operating about 100 mobile missile launch systems nationwide.
“In order to achieve real-time realization of such missile capabilities, the so-called kill chain system capable of immediate target detection, identification and strike will quickly be established.”
Regarding concerns of the South’ readiness against mobile launch systems, Kim said that detection of such equipment would be possible in a wartime situation as Seoul and its allies would “concentrate a diverse range of equipment.”
Kim added that the kill chain system would be established immediately using South Korean and U.S. military assets, the 800-kilometer-range ballistic missile development would be sped up, and the country’s missile defense system would be further developed.
In addition to the missile-related plans, Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin revealed Tuesday that a high-resolution military satellite would be put into orbit by 2021.
While the military puts various plans for shoring up missile defenses into motion, calls for more fundamental countermeasures was raised in the political arena.
“We need to persuade the U.S. that it is unavoidable for us to secure a minimum self-defense capability (against nuclear weapons) if North Korea arms itself with nuclear weapons,” said Rep. Chung Mong-joon of the ruling Saenuri Party.
The seven-term lawmaker has been one of the most outspoken proponent of securing nuclear deterrent capabilities, and has in the past raised the possibility of requesting the U.S. to redeploy tactical nuclear weapons in the South.
“We now face a situation that requires a fundamental solution. It is now clear that North Korea’s nuclear (ambitions) can’t be removed through diplomacy.”
He added that the U.S. seems to believe that a nuclear-armed Pyongyang can be neutralized with conventional weaponry, but that self-reliant defense and nuclear deterrent were keys to avoiding total devastation of the peninsula in a wartime situation.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org