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‘S. Korea Knows Potential Locations of NK Nuke Weapons’

‘S. Korea Knows Potential Locations of NK Nuke Weapons’

Posted September. 19, 2009 11:35,   


Defense Minister-designate Kim Tae-young said yesterday that the military knows where North Korea is potentially storing nuclear weapons.

He responded “Yes” when asked by ruling Grand National Party lawmaker Yoo Seong-min in Kim’s confirmation hearing at the National Assembly’s defense committee.

Kim also said South Korean and U.S. forces can preemptively attack the North’s nuclear weapons before Pyongyang uses them.

“If the North is feared to use nuclear weapons to attack the South in the event of war, the military will confirm such a move through diverse information channels and the combined forces will make a final decision (whether to strike) through a consultative body,” he said.

On what he would do if North Korea developed a small nuclear weapon and attacked the South after being nominated chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in March, Kim told a parliamentary confirmation hearing, “The most important thing is to confirm the possible storage location of nuclear weapons and (preemptively) strike.”

Kim also commented on a general military countermeasure at the time assuming the worst case scenario. Pyongyang blasted Seoul, saying “The comments were offensive words of a preemptive strike,” and demanded a withdrawal and apology.

The North also said, “Even the South’s small move toward a preemptive attack will be retaliated by us with a more prompt and destructive preemptive attack,” adding tension to strained inter-Korean relations.

While chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in June, Kim briefed President Lee Myung-bak on a revised basic plan on defense reform. The plan aimed to reinforce precision attack capability to gain the ability to preemptively strike when signs are monitored that the North is moving to fire nuclear weapons and missiles targeting the South.