Wednesday 24 May 2017

South Korea to form military brigade to remove North's leadership in war

South Koreans watch a TV news programme showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's New Year speech (Ahn Young-joon/AP)
South Koreans watch a TV news programme showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's New Year speech (Ahn Young-joon/AP)

South Korea will form a special military brigade this year tasked with removing North Korea's leadership in the event of war as Seoul looks for options to counter its rival's nuclear weapons and missiles, an official said.

The brigade will aim to remove the North's wartime command and paralyse its function if war breaks out, according to an official from Seoul's defence ministry.

The brigade was originally planned to be ready by 2019.

The official refused to say whether the brigade will train to execute pre-emptive strikes.

The plan was included in defence minister Han Min Koo's policy briefing to Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, who became government caretaker upon President Park Geun-hye's impeachment over a corruption scandal.

North Korea conducted two nuclear tests and a series of rocket test firings last year in attempts to expand its nuclear weapons and missile programme.

Following the North's latest nuclear test in September, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff announced plans to strengthen its ability to conduct pre-emptive strikes.

It also said a "Korea massive punishment and retaliation" system would use special forces and cruise missiles now under development to destroy areas where North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the rest of the country's decision-makers are located.

AP

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