S Korea defence chief under fire

2010-12-05 14:00

Seoul - North Korea lambasted South Korea's new defence chief on Sunday for threatening to launch air strikes against the North and accused the South of causing "uncontrollable, extreme" tension on the peninsula.

The South's Defence Minister Kim Kwan-jin told a confirmation hearing last week that jets would bomb the North if it stages another attack like the shelling on a front-line island that killed four South Koreans. Kim took office Saturday, replacing a predecessor who resigned amid criticism that South Korea's response to the November 23 shelling was too slow and weak.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency issued a statement on Sunday accusing the South of staging a series of "frantic provocations" including the defence minister's remarks.

"The frantic provocations ... are rapidly driving the situation on the Korean peninsula to an uncontrollable extreme phase," the official Korean Central News Agency said in a dispatch from Pyongyang.

The dispatch said South Korea plans to stage new naval drills with the United States soon, start its own live-fire drills from Monday and deploy missiles, rockets and other sophisticated weapons to Yeonpyeong Island that was hit by a North Korean artillery barrage.

"The puppet military warlike forces were reported to have already worked out the so-called 'retaliatory plan' which calls for sparking off an armed clash after getting on the nerves of the (North Korean) military and taking a large-scale counteraction under this pretext," it said.

South Korea's military declined Sunday to confirm whether it has such a military retaliation. Joint Chiefs of Staff officers only said a new joint drill with the US - which would follow last week's massive joint naval drill at Yellow Sea - is still under discussion with Washington and the live-fire exercise is a routine drill that has been scheduled well before the artillery barrage.

Kim inspected an army base near the heavily fortified land border on Sunday and urged troops to strengthen their combat capability and mental toughness, according to his office. A day earlier, he visited Yeonpyeong Island and vowed to take strong measures to ensure North Korea would not dare to make more provocations.

Periodic skirmishes

Skirmishes occur periodically along the two Koreas' disputed western maritime border, but the latest assault on Yeonpyeong Island, home to both fishing communities and military bases, was the North's first to target a civilian area since the 1950-53 Korean War.

The attack came eight months after the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack - also near the tense maritime border. Forty-six sailors were killed and North Korea has vehemently denied involvement.

The North also stoked regional tension last month by revealing a large uranium-enrichment facility that would give it a new method of making material for atomic bombs in addition to its known plutonium-based program.

Top diplomats from the US, South Korea and Japan were to meet in Washington on Monday to discuss the North's nuclear programme and its artillery barrage.

"What we object to is a pursuit of nuclear weapons that can be used to threaten and intimidate their neighbours and beyond," US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in Bahrain.

"That is unacceptable, and it is destabilizing."

The Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, technically leaving the peninsula at war. The US stations 28 500 troops in South Korea to deter potential aggression from North Korea, which considers the troops a threat rather than a deterrent.

- AP
Read more on:    south korea  |  north korea  |  north korea nuclear programme
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

10 ways to drive her wild!

Fill her nights with passion and drive her wild with the best sex ever!

 
 

Men24.com

Hottie of the day: Angela
10 things you should never say after sex
Guy code: Looking good for the ladies
SA surfer rides massive waves in Maui

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong desire to be unique, self sufficient, right and in control today. Your mind is fast today and you may have the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.