Troops told: ‘Act first, report later’

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Troops told: ‘Act first, report later’

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Minister of National Defense Kim Kwan-jin, at right, inspects troops yesterday at an artillery unit of the First Corps on the western border between the two Koreas. [YONHAP]


South Korea’s minister of national defense, who yesterday toured the western border between the two Koreas, advised soldiers yesterday to “act first” if they are provoked by North Korea.

The Defense Ministry said that Minister Kim Kwan-jin visited the troops from early in the morning to inspect their training in light of the current heightened tension at the border due to North Korea’s continued threats of attacking the South.

Kim’s visit also came as troops nationwide engaged in a second day of extensive military exercises held jointly with the United States.

“When carrying out an operation, don’t ask whether to shoot. Act first, report later,” said the minister, who also told the soldiers he met with yesterday to “think on the field,” according to the Defense Ministry.

“Imagination must be used when thinking of responses for a possible provocation from the enemy; endless discussion is needed. Even if the plans are immaculate, you can’t have those if you don’t have actions to meet them. Training is a must in this matter,” Kim said.

Kim had arrived at the bunker of the First Corps at the western border and received a briefing on the movement of North Korean troops across the border before going on to inspect an artillery unit nearby that uses a multiple-launch rocket system.

The South Korean military has increased its guard against North Korea after Pyongyang this week sent a stream of statements threatening to engage in a “full-scale war” and turn Seoul into a “sea of fire.”

North Korea sent the statements in protest against the large-scale joint military drill currently being carried out, as well as the psychological warfare the South has been engaged in, sending leaflets and daily necessities across the border.

In response to the North’s threats, which included firing at the Imjin Pavilion in Paju, Gyeonggi, where many of the balloons carrying leaflets were launched, Choi Jong-il, the commander of the Army corps Kim visited, said that the slightest movements from the North were being tracked.

“If North Korea engages in provocation, we will respond out of self-defense,” said Choi, who was also responsible for briefing the defense minister at the military bunker, “We have an around-the-clock preparation system, and we are prepared for a provocation from the North beyond our expectations.”

The commander also said that the South Korean military would attack the source of fire should the North decide to act on its word and fire at the Imjin Pavilion.

By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]


Related Korean Article[연합]
北주장 '대북심리전 발원지' 대비태세 현장점검

김관진 국방장관은 1일 서부전선 최전방부대를 순시하고 북한군 도발 가능성에 대한 대비태세를 점검했다고 국방부가 밝혔다.

김 장관은 이날 오전 7시55분께 1군단 지하벙커에 있는 지휘통제실에서 최종일 군단장으로부터 북한군의 최근 동향과 우리 군의 대비 태세를 보고받았다.

1군단은 남북관리구역 서부지구 및 임진각 일대를 관할하는 부대로, 최근 북한군이 대북 심리전 발원지로 지목한 지역 가운데 한 곳이다. 북한군은 최근 임진각 등 심리전 발원지를 조준 격파사격하겠다고 위협했다.

최 군단장은 "북한군의 미세한 움직임까지 추적하고 있다. 북한군이 도발하면 자위권 차원서 대응할 것"이라며 "북한군이 임진각을 조준사격하겠다고 위협하고 있지만 만약 적의 공격이 있다면 원점을 타격할 것"이라고 말했다.

그는 "북한의 예상을 뛰어넘는 도발에 대비하고 있다"면서 "도발시 압도적 전력으로 대응할 것이다. 이를 위해 24시간 각 제대별로 전투형 평가회의(일명 배틀리듬)를 개최하고 있다"고 설명했다.

이에 김 장관은 "북한군이 도발할 수 있기 때문에 모든 도발유형에 대한 상상력을 발휘하고 끊임없는 토의가 필요하다"며 "작전 시행시 현장에서 쏠까요 말까요 묻지 말고 선조치 후 보고할 것"을 지시했다.

그는 "아무리 도발대비 계획이 잘 되어 있다고 해도 행동이 따라가야 한다"며 "이에 대한 훈련이 필수적"이라고 강조했다.

이어 오전 8시55분 1군단 예하 포병대대의 다연장로켓(MLRS) 부대를 방문하고 대비 태세를 점검했다.

포병부대장은 "현재 전방에 전개된 MLRS는 적의 도발시 즉각 사격할 태세를 유지하고 있다"며 "빠르면 수분내에 즉시 대응이 가능하다"고 보고했다.

국방부 관계자는 "김 장관은 28일부터 시작된 키 리졸브 연습과 독수리훈련 기간 북한군의 도발 가능성에 대비하고 점검하는 차원에서 전방을 순시했다"며 "특히 북한군이 심리전 발원지를 조준 격파사격하겠다고 위협하는 최근 상황 등을 반영한 조치"라고 말했다. (연합뉴스)
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