South Korea’s army has revealed plans to destroy North Korea’s nuclear and missile sites and command centers in the event of a military confrontation with Pyongyang.
In its annual parliamentary audit, the army said it will develop a “Frankenmissile” which would inflict “unbearable cost” on the North in the early stages of a possible armed conflict, Yonhap news agency reported.
The missile would carry a warhead weighing 1,800 kilograms and would be able to reach anywhere in North Korea, the army report claimed.
The army said it started developing such a ballistic missile to establish a “game-changing” operational concept, to minimize civilian casualties, and to end a potential military conflict with the North as soon as possible.
Earlier, US President Donald Trump “agreed in principle” with South Korea’s scrapping limits on its missile payloads.
Under a 2012 agreement with the US, Seoul had been allowed to have ballistic missiles with a range of up to 800 kilometers — enough to reach any target in North Korea — with a payload of no more than 500 kilograms.
The new report comes amid escalation tensions in the Korean Peninsula where massive wargames are underway, involving biggest American aircraft carrier the USS Ronald Reagan, and South Korean forces.
The North has denounced the war games as a “rehearsal for war.” Pyongyang has also responded to belligerent rhetoric by US President Donald Trump, including his threatens to “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary, with a series of nuclear and ballistic missile tests.
Pyongyang close to building nukes able to reach US: CIA
CIA Director Mike Pompeo warned Thursday that Pyongyang was only a few months away from fulfilling its objective to acquire a nuclear weapon capable of striking the United States mainland.
“They are close enough now in their capabilities that from a US policy perspective we ought to behave as if we are on the cusp of them achieving” their objective of being able to strike the United States, Pompeo told a national security forum in Washington.
“Whether it happens on Tuesday or a month from Tuesday, we are at a time where the president has concluded that we need a global effort to ensure that [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un doesn’t have that capacity,” he said, without explaining.
Pompeo (pictured below) criticized the international community for failing to “push back against” Pyongyang as “they are closer now than they were five years ago, and I expect they will be closer in five months than they are today.”
This is while the North has been under harsh sanctions since it conducted its first nuclear test in 2006.
The North says it needs to continue and develop its military programs as a deterrent against the hostile policies of the United States and its regional allies, including South Korea and Japan.
EU adopts tougher sanctions
Separately, EU foreign ministers agreed at a summit on Thursday to impose harsher sanctions on the North in an effort to bring about an end to its nuclear and ballistic weapons program, according to a draft final statement seen by Reuters.
An agreement was reached on the sanctions, which go beyond the United Nation measures, on Monday “to [make North Korea] abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner,” reads the draft statement.
The leaders also warned that the bloc is ready to consider further measures, including sanctions on non-EU countries that do business with North Korea.
Speaking ahead of the summit on Thursday, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini confirmed the adoption of the sanctions.
“Most of the pressure on Pyongyang comes from our side,” she said. “We hope that this can lead to a peaceful negotiation on denuclearize of the Korean Peninsula.”