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Seoul vows relentless retaliation against N.K. if provoked

South Korea’s new national security adviser vowed a relentless retaliation against North Korea if provoked again, an official said Saturday, the latest in a series of harsh rhetoric against each other.

Kim Kwan-jin, who currently doubles as the defense minister, also called on them to “have a strong fighting capability to relentlessly retaliate against the enemy and completely make it surrender in case of the enemy’s provocation.”

He gave the instructions during his trip to a military unit near the heavily fortified border with North Korea earlier in the day, according to the official.

It marked his first trip to a military unit since he was named as a new national security adviser to President Park Geun-hye.

Kim’s job as the defense chief is set to end in coming weeks as a nominee to be Park’s new defense minister goes through a parliamentary confirmation hearing widely seen as a formality.

Kim has repeatedly vowed to strongly retaliate against any provocations to avenge the deaths of 50 South Koreans who were killed in North Korea’s two separate attacks in March and November of 2010.

North Korea has recently lashed out at Kim, calling him a military gangster, the latest in a series of diatribes against him.

Last year, North Korean soldiers chanted a slogan, “Let’s tear to pieces of Kim Kwan-jin” as their military dogs tore to pieces Kim’s effigy during a training session, according to footage of the North’s state television.

North Korean soldiers were also shown firing at a paper target overlapped with Kim’s image.

In April, North Korea warned that its military will “mercilessly wipe out” aggressors if they intrude into the North’s territory, air and seas even slightly.

Tensions persist on the divided peninsula over the North’s missile and nuclear programs. (Yonhap)