South Korea will boost its military’s strength to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, defense officials said today, unveiling modifications to the nation’s long-term military modernization plans.
The changes to the Defense Reform 2020 plan to modify all branches of the armed forces by the year 2020 were focused on strengthening the nation’s “reconnaissance, precision strike and interception” capabilities, according to Joon Ang daily, citing a presentation by Defense Minister lee Sang-hee and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Kim Tae-young.
In a separate report, Lieutenant General Kim Ki Soo told reporters “[o]ur military will strengthen its capability for precision strikes on North Korea,” according to Agence France Presse.
The military said it will triple the number of its K-9 self propelled howitzers and next-generation multiple launch rocket systems to counter attacks by North Korea’s long-range artillery deployed near the border, the Korea Times said. About 15 trillion won ($11.6 billion) would be used for about 1,000 K-9 and new multiple launch rocket systems by 2020, the Joint Chiefs of Staff official said in the report.
In an emergency, the military could conduct pre-emptive strikes against nuclear and missile facilities in North Korea, an official with the Joint Chiefs of Staff speaking on condition of anonymity told the Korea Times, noting that would depend on a decision by the leadership.