SEOUL, South Korea's Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo on Wednesday renewed his pledge to maintain robust military readiness amid ongoing peace efforts with North Korea.
Concerns linger that Seoul's push for a series of inter-Korean confidence-building and arms control measures could undermine its security when Pyongyang has yet to take any substantive steps toward its denuclearization.
"Our military's mission to protect the lives of citizens and their safety will not change at all during the process of fostering peace (with the North)," Jeong said during the commencement ceremony of the Korea Military Academy in northern Seoul.
"Peace is still not complete at this point. It will take more time and effort to make it part of our routine life," he added.
The former Air Force general also noted the need for the military to build capabilities to effectively cope with threats "from all directions" and press ahead with ongoing reform efforts aimed at creating a smaller yet smarter military.
South Korea is focusing increasingly on countering threats from outside the peninsula amid tensions caused by Chinese aircrafts' repeated violations of its air defense identification zone and Japanese aircrafts' recent low-altitude flybys near its warships.
Source: Yonhap news Agency