South to strengthen deterrence against North's threatsSouth Korea will further strengthen its "tailored" deterrence, along with the United States, against North Korea's nuclear and missiles threats while enhancing its attack and missile defense capabilities, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Wednesday.
"North Korea continues to bolster its nuclear and missile capabilities, with the denuclearization talks having long stalled," the JCS said in a report for the annual parliamentary audit on its affairs.
"Facing multiple challenges such as the border closure and the worsening economic difficulties due to Covid-19, North Korea could undertake military provocations to tip the balance, though there is the possibility of dialogue," it added.
Last week, the North test-fired a newly developed anti-aircraft missile, the latest in a series of missile launches by the communist country in recent weeks. Days earlier, the North launched a new type of hypersonic missile, which came on the heels of firing two short-range ballistic missiles and a new long-range cruise missile.
"In response, we will further develop the Korea-U.S. tailored deterrence strategies, and will beef up our strategic striking and missile defense capabilities by maximizing cutting-edge science technologies," the JCS said, citing such assets as the F-35 fighter jets, the Cheongung II surface-to-air guided missile, and the submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
In order to draw up the new strategies, the military is "reassessing" the security situation on the peninsula and in the region to take into consideration the results of the North's party congress held in January and the Sino-U.S. rivalry, among other issues.
During the eighth congress of the ruling Workers' Party, North Korea vowed to strengthen its nuclear capabilities and develop new weapons systems.
"We plan to issue a joint operational guidance based on the so-called 4-D operational concept — detect, disrupt, destroy and defend — against threats by enemies, and will revise our strategy on nuclear weapons and Weapons of Mass Destruction [WMD] responses," the report said.
During the Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue (KIDD) held last week in Seoul, Seoul and Washington conducted a tabletop exercise (TTX) that was designed to strengthen their tailored deterrence against the threats by North Korea, according to the Defense Ministry.
The JCS also vowed to introduce additional surveillance and reconnaissance assets, including unmanned vehicles, and to enhance ballistic missile detection and interception capabilities by upgrading Patriot missiles and early warning radar systems.
In order to discuss security and alliance issues, JCS Chairman Gen. Won In-choul plans to meet with his U.S. counterpart, Gen. Mark Milley, for this year's Military Committee Meeting (MCM) next month in Seoul, the JCS said.
The MCM is held every year, usually a day before the defense ministers of the two countries hold the Security Consultative Meeting (SCM). This year's SCM is slated to be held in Seoul.
Meanwhile, Wednesday's audit took place as scheduled, though lawmakers affiliated with the parliamentary national defense committee failed to hold the planned session for the Defense Ministry due to partisan strife over a snowballing land development corruption scandal potentially involving Lee Jae-myung, the ruling party's presumptive nominee to run in next year's presidential election.