Moon or­ders dis­play of power to pun­ish NK

The Korea Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Yi Whan-woo yis­tory@ktimes.com

Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in or­dered the mil­i­tary Tues­day to show­case its over­whelm­ing abil­ity to strike North Korea in re­sponse to Py­ongyang’s launch of a bal­lis­tic mis­sile over Ja­pan.

The Air Force con­ducted a live-fire bomb­ing drill near the in­ter-Korean border on Pres­i­dent Moon’s or­ders. Four F-15k fighter jets car­ried out bomb­ing runs, drop­ping eight MK84 mul­ti­pur­pose bombs on a fir­ing range in Tae­baek, Gang­won Prov­ince.

This is seen as a strong warn­ing to the Kim Jong-un regime that the South Korean mil­i­tary is de­ter­mined to take mil­i­tary ac­tion, if needed, to counter the North’s grow­ing mis­sile provo­ca­tions.

“The Pres­i­dent or­dered the mil­i­tary to show its pow­er­ful ca­pa­bil­ity to hit North Korea af­ter re­ceiv­ing a re­port from Na­tional Se­cu­rity Of­fice chief Chung Eui-yong,” Moon’s chief press sec­re­tary Yoon Young-chan said.

Chung presided over an emer­gency Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil (NSC) ses­sion at 7 a.m., shortly af­ter the North launched the bal­lis­tic mis­sile, thought to be the new in­ter­me­di­ate-range Hwa­song-12.

“The NSC strongly con­demned North Korea for launch­ing a bal­lis­tic mis­sile and vi­o­lat­ing U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions again de­spite warn­ings from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity,” Yoon said. “We take North Korea’s provo­ca­tions very se­ri­ously and de­cided to main­tain a readi­ness pos­ture at an en­hanced level against any ad­di­tional provo­ca­tions.”

Ac­cord­ing to a Cheong Wa Dae of­fi­cial, the United States is con­sid­er­ing de­ploy­ing strate­gic as­sets to the Korean Penin­sula, such as B-1B Lancer and B-52 Strato­fortress bombers, stealth jets, Aegis de­stroy­ers and nu­clear-pow­ered submarines.

“We’ll dis­cuss the is­sue with the U.S. ac­cord­ingly,” the of­fi­cial said.

The mil­i­tary also un­veiled footage of its new 500-kilo­me­ter and 800-kilo­me­ter range bal­lis­tic mis­siles.

The footage taken Aug. 24 shows two 500-kilo­me­ter-range mis­siles and an 800-kilo­me­ter-range mis­sile be­ing launched si­mul­ta­ne­ously.

They were de­vel­oped by the Agency for De­fense De­vel­op­ment (ADD) as part of South Korea’s own three-stage mis­sile de­fense sys­tem.

It was their last flight test be­fore be­ing de­ployed, ac­cord­ing to the ADD.

“To help build the sys­tem, we’ve been work­ing on new bal­lis­tic mis­siles with in­creased ranges, var­i­ous types of war­heads and im­proved ac­cu­racy,” an ADD of­fi­cial said. “The ac­cu­racy and re­li­a­bil­ity of the mis­siles are proven. They can strike and de­stroy tar­gets in­clud­ing North Korea’s nu­clear mis­sile launch sites in any weather.”

Two-track pol­icy

An­a­lysts spec­u­lated the new North Korean mis­sile test will put Moon un­der heav­ier pres­sure to pur­sue a two-track strat­egy of bol­ster­ing mil­i­tary mea­sures and seek­ing di­plo­matic meth­ods with re­gard to the re­pres­sive state.

The Moon ad­min­is­tra­tion has car­ried out mis­sile tests and mil­i­tary ex­er­cises this year in re­sponse to the Kim regime’s mis­sile provo­ca­tions.

But the Tues­day test hinted at a need for stronger de­ter­rence. The mis­sile trav­eled 2,700 kilo­me­ters and reached a max­i­mum height of 550 kilo­me­ters, ver­i­fy­ing Py­ongyang’s ca­pa­bil­ity to strike the U.S. ter­ri­tory of Guam as it threat­ened in early Au­gust.

“North Korea is ap­par­ently ham­per­ing Moon’s goal to re­sume cross-border di­a­logue and ex­changes,” said Paik Hak-soon, a se­nior re­searcher at the Se­jong In­sti­tute.

A Cheong Wa Dae of­fi­cial said, “It would be bet­ter if fa­vor­able cir­cum­stances for di­a­logue were formed, but we have to take coun­ter­mea­sures if the North does not co­op­er­ate.”

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