Wednesday 25 April 2018

Trump: 'talking not the answer' as South plots to assassinate Kim

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, centre, watching the launch of a rocket near Pyongyang. Photo: Getty Images
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, centre, watching the launch of a rocket near Pyongyang. Photo: Getty Images

Julian Ryall

US President Donald Trump has dismissed any diplomatic negotiations with North Korea, saying "talking is not the answer", after Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile over Japan and drew international condemnation.

"The US has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!" Mr Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.

Meanwhile, in Seoul it has emerged that there are plans for a special forces unit to infiltrate North Korea and assassinate Kim Jong-un if war breaks out.

South Korea is planning to send special forces units into Pyongyang in search of Mr Kim and his closest advisers in the event that North Korea should start a conventional war.

The plan is among the revisions being made to South Korea's strategy for dealing with an attack from the North.

Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, was briefed by senior officials from the Defence Ministry on Monday - one day before North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan - about revisions to the present defence of the nation.

Mr Moon told the ministry to implement reforms to the military to meet the challenges that are increasingly being posed by North Korea.

He added that the military should be ready to "quickly switch to an offensive posture in case North Korea stages a provocation that crosses the line or attacks the capital region", the 'Chosun Ilbo' newspaper reported.

The prime minister also requested that the military increase its mobility as well as its ability to carry out airborne and sea landings and upgrade air defences.

In the event of a conventional conflict breaking out on the Korean Peninsula, North Korean artillery is expected to bombard the South's defences along the demilitarised zone as well as shelling Seoul, which is less than 80km south of the border.

Massed tanks and infantry units, assisted by saboteurs and agents already in the South, would attempt to swiftly seize Seoul and other key cities and facilities in South Korea before the United States and, potentially, other allied nations could land reinforcements.

Under the existing US-South Korean plan for the defence of the South, known as OPLAN 5015, the two nations would aim to bring their overwhelming air and naval superiority to bear from bases in South Korea and Japan, as well as aircraft carrier battle fleets in the western Pacific. It would take weeks, however, before large-scale reinforcements, including heavy tanks and other equipment, could be landed.

The new South Korean plan will identify more than 1,000 primary targets in North Korea to be eliminated by missiles and laser-guided munitions -including nuclear weapons and missile launch facilities - at the same time as the conventional attack is halted.

The military has also been tasked with training special forces units that could be infiltrated into Pyongyang in order to target key members of the regime, including Mr Kim, the North Korean leader, in order to bring about a more rapid conclusion to the fighting.

Irish Independent

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