S. Korea’s military establishes new nuke, WMD response division amid N.K. threats

SEOUL– South Korea’s military launched a new division tasked with countering threats from North Korea’s nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) on Monday, officials said.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) held a ceremony marking the creation of the Directorate of Countering Nuclear and WMD, which it said will lay the foundation for the envisioned launch of the “strategic command.”

The launch came after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un raised the need for an “exponential” increase in his country’s nuclear arsenal and renewed plans to bolster “self-defensive” capabilities during last week’s key ruling party meeting, raising the prospects of continued provocations in the new year.

The new directorate originated from the nuclear and WMD response center under the JCS Directorate of Strategic Planning. It evolved into a separate directorate with added functions of information, operations, and force and combat development.

Building on the directorate, the South Korean military plans to launch the strategic command — an overarching entity spearheading overall operations against the North’s nuclear and WMD challenges.

The JCS said the new directorate will lead Seoul’s efforts to develop its “three-axis” defense system, oversee the integrated management of capabilities in space, cyber and electromagnetic spectrum domains.

The three-pronged system consists of the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation, an operational plan to incapacitate the North Korean leadership in a major conflict; the Kill Chain preemptive strike platform; and the Korea Air and Missile Defense system.

“(We) will all give our best to be equipped at an early stage with a posture to immediately respond to any nuclear and missile threats from the North, as well as response capabilities that can overwhelm the enemy,” Maj. Gen. Park Hu-soung, the inaugural head of the new body, was quoted as saying.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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