South Korea planning for first-strike capability against North: Asahi
Seoul seeks to act independently of US military command
Japan’s Asahi Shimbun reports that South Korea plans a drastic shift in defense strategy that allows it to carry out pre-emptive strikes against the North and gain direct command of its forces from the US as soon as possible.
The Japanese newspaper says the proposed strategic changes were contained in a South Korean Defense Ministry report submitted to the National Assembly on October 12. The report summarizes the ministry’s plan to draw up new defense strategy guidelines in December.
If it goes into effect, the new strategy would permit South Korea to pre-emptively attack enemy bases at the first sign of a possible missile launch. An attack on North Korean territory would also be made as soon as Pyongyang made the first move.
Defense officials say the concept is to replace the country’s current defensive strategy with an offensive one that would lead to military victory at minimum cost. South Korea’s current guidelines call for a counter attack after an initial North Korean attack has been blunted.
It isn’t known, however, how the US will react to the proposal. Current joint-military policy calls for all South Korean forces to be under US command in hostilities involving North Korea.
Seoul would presumably still seek US permission before moving independently in the field. The defense ministry report noted that South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo will meet with US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Seoul on October 28.