South Korea Vows More Aggressive Response To North's 'Provocations'
Authored by Will Porter via The Libertarian Institute,
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has vowed more aggressive retaliation to military action by Pyongyang, calling to "punish" the DPRK soon after Seoul unveiled a new $440 million military spending package.
Briefing reporters following a meeting between the president and South Korea’s National Security Office this week, Yoon’s press secretary Kim Eun-hye said officials were instructed to react forcefully to any future "provocations," citing a major breach of South Korea’s airspace by North Korean drones earlier this week.
"President Yoon told them to punish and retaliate in no uncertain terms in response to any provocation by North Korea, saying that is the most powerful way to deter provocations," she said, adding that Yoon "also emphasized that we must not be fearful or hesitant just because North Korea has nuclear weapons."
The Wednesday national security meeting took place days after Pyongyang flew five reconnaissance drones over the border separating the two Koreas, prompting the South to scramble military aircraft in response. Though the drones remained in Seoul’s airspace for up to seven hours, some flying over the country’s capital city, the South Korean military was unable to shoot down any of the UAVs.
Yoon reportedly "berated" Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup over the failure to bring down the aircraft, saying the incident showed that the military was "greatly lacking" in preparedness, and also vowed to bolster South Korea’s air defenses and surveillance capabilities to prevent similar incursions in the future.
Toward that end, the Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday that it would spend some $441 million over the next five years on a variety of different projects, including the development of 'non-kinetic' weapons platforms, such as an "airborne laser" designed to bring down drones, as well as a new signal jammer.
South Korea conducted an anti-drone drill to simulate identifying, tracking, and shooting down small drones. This drill also included air-assets like the ROK AH-64, MD-500s & fighter jets. This comes after South Korea failed to neutralize tiny drones that crossed from NK into SK. pic.twitter.com/pxe9xEEEpa— Global: Military-Info (@Global_Mil_Info) December 30, 2022
Tensions have soared between the North and South in recent months, with the DPRK conducting more weapons tests in 2022 than any year prior. South Korea, meanwhile, has significantly stepped up live-fire military drills with the United States and Japan, despite vocal condemnation from Pyongyang, which considers the exercises as preparations for an attack. Seoul, Washington and Tokyo have additionally pledged to further boost trilateral military ties between themselves, largely citing alleged threats from North Korea and China.