South Korea stands firm on 'kill chain plans' to counter North's nuclear threat
With North Korea in the recent past ramping up its nuclear facilities, New South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol has emphasised on the so-called Kill Chain system to counter a possible attack by North Korea.
- South Korea
With North Korea in the recent past ramping up its nuclear facilities, New South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol has emphasised on the so-called Kill Chain system to counter a possible attack by North Korea. North Korea tested hypersonic missiles in recent months which may narrow down the time Seoul to respond to a pending attack.
South Korea is pouring resources into its strategy of deterring any North Korean nuclear attack by preparing for preemptive strikes if necessary, a strategy some experts say may exacerbate their arms race and risks miscalculation during a conflict, The Japan Times reported. The Kill Chain first developed a decade ago when North Korea ramped up its nuclear development, however, according to experts, the system is often regarded as a logical but highly risky and unreliable way to try to counter North Korea's nuclear threat.
The implicit threat against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is particularly destabilizing, said Ankit Panda of the US-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "I can see why leadership decapitation is tempting for South Korea, but threatening to kill the leadership of a nuclear-armed state is uniquely dangerous," he said.
Jeffrey Lewis, a missile researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), called the plans "the most plausible route to a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula." "This is the *military* plan that is most likely to succeed ..." he said in a post on Twitter. "But it is also the option most likely to create uncontrollable escalation dynamics and start a nuclear war."
South Korea is also seeking to develop its own satellites and other technology to detect North Korean targets independently from the United States. Yoon's administration announced the creation of a Strategic Command by 2024 to oversee preemptive and retaliatory strike strategies. It includes a growing arsenal of ballistic missiles, F-35A stealth fighters and new submarines, which have been displayed in increasingly frequent drills.
South Korea's strategy is a hedge against US abandonment, European defence researchers Ian Bowers and Henrik Stalhane Hiim said in an academic report last year. "Its deterrent effect, no matter how uncertain, acts as a short-term stopgap if the United States abandons South Korea." Those concerns were heightened when then-President Donald Trump demanded Seoul pay billions of dollars more to support US troops on the peninsula and raised the prospect he could withdraw them.
According to Japan Times, Park Cheol-Kyun, who worked on international policy at South Korea's Defense Ministry until May, said developing such capabilities didn't necessarily reflect worries about US commitments. The new Strategic Command would involve a new operating system and new command structure, bringing "synergy" to the weapons used in the Kill Chain and related systems to enhance deterrent and response capabilities, he said. (ANI)
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