SKorea Defense Chief Vows North Strikes12/08 06:01
South Korea's defense minister on Friday vowed massive retaliatory missile
strikes on "the heart and head" of North Korea in the event of provocation, as
the rivals escalate their rhetoric over their respective spy satellite launches
in recent days.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korea's defense minister on Friday vowed
massive retaliatory missile strikes on "the heart and head" of North Korea in
the event of provocation, as the rivals escalate their rhetoric over their
respective spy satellite launches in recent days.
The South Korean warning -- unusually fiery rhetoric by Seoul directed at
Pyongyang -- came as the top security advisers from South Korea, the U.S. and
Japan gathered in Seoul for talks to discuss North Korea's evolving nuclear
threats and other issues.
During a visit to the army's missile strategic command, South Korean Defense
Minister Shin Wonsik ordered command officers to maintain a readiness to fire
precision-guided and powerful missiles at any time, according to his ministry.
Shin said the main role of the command is "lethally striking the heart and
head of the enemy, though the types of its provocations can vary," a ministry
Animosities between the two Koreas deepened after North Korea launched its
first military reconnaissance satellite into space on Nov. 21 in violation of
U.N. bans. South Korea, the U.S. and Japan strongly condemned the launch,
viewing it as an attempt by the North to improve its missile technology as well
as establish a space-surveillance system.
South Korea announced plans to resume front-line aerial surveillance in
response. North Korea quickly retaliated by restoring border guard posts,
according to Seoul officials. Both steps would breach a 2018 inter-Korean deal
on easing front-line military tensions.
Last week, when South Korea also launched its first military spy satellite
from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base, North Korea slammed the U.S. for
alleged double standards and warned of a possible grave danger to global peace.
In a statement Friday, Jo Chol Su, a senior North Korean Foreign Ministry
official, said the North would make all available efforts to protect its
national interests in the face of threats by hostile forces.
The national security advisers from South Korea, the U.S. and Japan are to
hold their first trilateral meeting in six months in Seoul on Saturday.
Ahead of the three-way meeting, South Korean national security adviser Cho
Tae-yong and his Japanese counterpart, Takeo Akiba, met bilaterally on Friday
and reaffirmed a need to strengthen their cooperation with the U.S. to cope
with with provocations by North Korea. Cho and U.S. national security adviser
Jake Sullivan also met and affirmed that Seoul and Washington remain open to
diplomacy with North Korea, according to South Korea's presidential office.
Earlier Friday, South Korea's Unification Ministry accused North Korea of
property rights infringements by unilaterally using South Korean-owned
equipment at a now-shuttered joint factory park in the North. The ministry also
accused North Korea of dismantling the remains of a South Korean-built liaison
office at the park that the North blew up during a previous period of tensions