South Korea to create strategic command against North Korea’s threats

Courtesy of the Blue House
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, center, speaks at a meeting of top military commanders at the Gyeryongdae military headquarters on Wednesday.

SEOUL — The South Korean Defense Ministry has announced that it will form a strategic command in charge of preemptive strikes and missile defense against potential North Korean nuclear and missile attacks.

The ministry will draw up a plan next year to establish the command, hopefully in 2024, according to South Korean media, with the aim of bolstering the country’s independent defense capabilities.

The South Korean military has adopted a “three-axis” defense system based on the following three capabilities: the Kill Chain preemptive strike system, the Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) system and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) plan.

The three-axis concept envisions the South Korean military detecting an imminent North Korean missile attack and launching a preemptive strike (Kill Chain), intercepting any missiles that are actually fired (KAMD), and finally carrying out large-scale retaliatory attacks against the North Korean leadership in the event of an attack (KMPR).

The latest series of provocations by Pyongyang, which is working to improve its missile capabilities, has motivated Seoul to strengthen its deterrence by establishing a cross-sectional command covering all branches of its armed forces.

On Wednesday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol met with the commanders of the army, navy, air force and marine corps at the Gyeryongdae military headquarters in South Chungcheongnam-do Province, discussing ways to strengthen the three-axis system and the establishment of a strategic command.

At the meeting, Yoon said that in addition to a defense capability based on extended deterrence under the U.S. nuclear umbrella, South Korea must strengthen its military’s independent deterrence and capabilities to respond to North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats.

During the presidential campaign this year, Yoon said intercepting North Korean missiles is “virtually impossible” and that “there is no other way to prevent it other than a preemptive strike.”

Yoon also expressed his intention to change former President Moon Jae-in’s reconciliation policy toward North Korea.

Since the beginning of this year, North Korea has repeatedly launched hard-to-intercept weapons, including the Iskander intercontinental ballistic missile that flies on an irregular trajectory and what it claims is a high-performance hypersonic missile.