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'Soldiers will become combat heroes in event of N.K.’s provocation,' says defense minister

'Soldiers will become combat heroes in event of N.K.’s provocation,' says defense minister

Posted August. 14, 2017 07:27,   

Updated August. 14, 2017 07:37

“The defense of northwestern Islands and the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea is the core of national defense,” Defense Minister Song Young-moo said. He has ordered Sunday the military units in the area to engage in combat confidently if and when North Korea makes a provocation.

According to the South Korean military authority, Song made the remarks while visiting the Yeonpyeong Unit in Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea on the day to check combat preparedness. After paying tribute at the memorial monument for the fallen soldiers in the Second Yeonpyeong Naval Battle and the memorial tower for the fallen heroes in the North’s artillery attacks on the island, Song held a videoconference with commanders in charge of respective military subunits in northwestern islands at the island's command center.

“Yeonpyeong Island and Baengnyeong Island are swords aiming at the throat and waist of the enemy forces, respectively,” Song said. “If the North makes a provocation, the South Korean military should fight combat with determination, crush the enemy forces and secure victory. We will win without fail if we engage in a battle. The moment the enemy force makes a provocation, you will become combat heroes on the very date.”

Defense Minister Song also boarded the PKG-class Han Sang-guk battleship, and took a tour at NLL waters in the Yellow Sea for about 30 to 40 minutes. The Han Sang-guk is a battleship named after the late petty officer first class Han Sang-guk, who died in the Second Yeonpyeong Naval Battle.

A South Korean military official said the minister had said. “If (the South Korean navy) can instantly crush in one to two minutes in exchange of fires if and when a North Korean speedboat violates the Northern Limit Line.” The military authority said, “It is the message of our defense chief that if North Korea launches a local provocation by exploiting recent tension, the South Korean military will retaliate with the strongest counterattack to make the North deeply regret.”

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com