Gov’t seeks early defense systems

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Gov’t seeks early defense systems

The government decided Tuesday to move its procurement projects up by a few years to counter North Korea’s military threats and requested the ruling party’s cooperation with increasing the necessary budgets.

“We planned to establish three core deterrence systems to counter the North by mid-2020,” said an official from the Ministry of National Defense, “but we will advance completion to early 2020.”

The three systems are “Kill Chain,” Korea Air Missile Defense (KAMD) and Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR). Kill Chain is a preemptive strike system so named because it was designed to interrupt the North’s kill chain, or sequence of attack. KAMD focuses on terminal-phase, low-altitude missile defense. KMPR is designed to launch attacks on the North’s leadership if signs of nuclear-weapons attack are detected.

At a consultation with the ruling Saenuri Party in the morning, the ministry asked lawmakers to revise the proposed budget in order to advance the schedule. The Saenuri Party said up to 300 billion won ($265 million) more will be needed to advance the projects by one year.

“Because there are variables concerning the money, we cannot fix a number,” said a ministry official. “We will further discuss the specifics and will consult with the Ministry of Strategy and Finance and the National Assembly to develop our ideas.”

The ministry, however, reacted cautiously to the ruling party’s demand that the country needs nuclear-powered submarines as soon as possible. “It is a matter that needs more careful consideration in terms of military effectiveness, technicality and the sentiments of the international community,” said the ministry official. “Because it accompanies a larger aftermath than other procurement projects, we will review it more carefully.”

Politicians have said the South needs nuclear-powered submarines to counter the North’s improving Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile technology, but experts have said building such a submarine costs about 1 trillion won. At the consultation, the ministry and lawmakers also agreed that the scheduled completion of already decided procurement projects would be advanced.

The military decided to purchase an additional ground-based missile-defense Green Pine radar by 2017, after which the Air Force will be equipped with four radars. The three existing radars had 21 malfunctions over the past three years, once creating a hole in the missile defense shield for 42 hours.

The military will also purchase additional long-range air-to-ground Taurus missiles, capable of precision strikes from a range of 500 kilometers (310 miles). The military originally planned to purchase 177 units by 2017, and 90 more will be purchased before the end of 2018. When fired from F-15Ks that take off from Daegu, the German-built missiles are capable of striking major installations in Pyongyang. When fired from the border, the entire North Korean territory will fall within range.

The military also decided to purchase Small Diameter Bomb IIs(SDM-IIs), a U.S.-built air-launched glide bomb, to target the North’s mobile missile launchers.

BY PARK SEONG-HUN, SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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