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View more articles by Dagyum Ji
Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
President Moon Jae-in on Monday called for the South Korean military to enhance its defense readiness to “immediately switch to offensive operations” in case North Korea makes a “provocation that crosses the line.”
Moon made the comments during a briefing from the South Korean Ministry of National Defense (MND) and the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs in Seoul.
“[The military should] strongly push ahead with a reform of the military structure to meet [the requirements] of modern warfare so that it can immediately switch to offensive operations in case North Korea makes a provocation that crosses the line or attacks a metropolitan area,” Moon told top military officers.
Yoon Young-chan, senior presidential secretary for public relations, said in a statement that Moon had scolded military officials for wasteful spending.
“North Korea is focusing on the development of nuclear weapons and missiles which are asymmetric powers instead of conventional weapons,” Moon reportedly said.
“As North Korea improves asymmetric power, we have to respond correspondingly, but I have a fundamental question of what we did with that much money.”
South Korea’s three-axis system, a plan to respond to a DPRK missile attack that remains in development, includes the Kill Chain pre-emptive strike program, the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) systems.
Moon also expressed his regret over the South Korean military’s dependence on the ROK-U.S. combined defense posture.
“It is regretful that we can’t deal with the North Korean military powers and only rely on the combined defense capabilities even if we put a lot of military spending,” Moon said at the meeting.
South Korean Vice Minister of National Defense Suh Choo-suk told media on Monday that the MND had recommended “various ways that the South Korean military can completely overhaul into an expeditious military like a leopard.”
“First, we establish the concept ‘How to Fight’ of conducting a war led by the South Korean military in an offensive manner,” Suh said at a news conference ahead of a meeting with the President.
Suh said the concept would encourage the South Korean military to “establish military powers which can raze an enemy based on the strong three-axis system,” adding that it also means that the ROK w0uld implement a “deep offensive maneuver” if invaded.
“It’s true that the establishment of KAMD, Kill Chain, KMPR systems that I mentioned in connection with the powerful three-axis system have been delayed for a while,” Suh said. “But our goal is to build up as early as possible and make [them] available in the early 2020s.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: Blue House