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[Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-sup] “We will unleash a high-intensity response, in close consultation with the US, in th...

In meeting with reporters accredited by the ministry, Minister Lee Jong-sup emphasizes the deterrence effect by demonstrating that North Korea’s nuclear use would be futile, and affirms that it is impossible to desist from our THAAD normalization policy, despite China’s opposition

[Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-sup] “We wi

On August 11, Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-sup warned that “There will be a whole new level of response to a North Korean nuclear test. In close consultation with the United States (US), we will unleash a high-intensity response.”


Lee made the statement at a meeting with reporters accredited by the ministry, which was held at the ministry’s convention center in Yongsan, Seoul, going on to comment, “If there is a strategic provocation from North Korea, the key to any response is to demonstrate our capabilities.” Lee also added that “this means we deter the use of nuclear weapons by demonstrating to North Korea that it would be futile.”


Regarding North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, Lee offered the assessment that “It is obvious that North Korea is intending to miniaturize and reduce the weight of its nuclear weapons for tactical purposes.” “In the past, there was a perception that a strategic nuclear weapon is the ‘weapon you don't use.’ North Korea is miniaturizing nuclear weapons to send the message that ultimately, it can use nuclear weapons, and it has the intention to do so,” Lee explained.


When asked about the possibility of strategic and tactical provocations from North Korea, Lee clarified his will to “respond sternly to any provocations (from North Korea) at any time.”


Regarding China’s diplomatic offensive against normalizing operation of the US Forces Korea’s THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) base, Lee drew a hard line, saying that “The US Forces Korea’s THADD deployment is for the security of the ROK, and as such it is a matter of our security sovereignty. We will not desist from the policy to normalize operation of THAAD because of China’s opposition.” Continuing, Lee added, “The radar of the THAAD artillery unit in Seongju is shielded by the mountain right in front of it when it heads toward China, and thus it cannot be operated physically. The deployment of the THAAD artillery unit is for the protection of the Korean Peninsula and the ROK's people.”


Regarding ROK-US-Japan security cooperation, Lee stated clearly that he is working to fundamentally expand cooperation, but added that “expanding joint military exercises is a matter for careful judgment.”

By Chul-Hwan, Kim < >

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