Moon orders display of power to punish NK
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.”
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.”