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Military Toughens Rules of Engagement vs. N. Korea

Posted August. 25, 2010 08:11,   


The military said Tuesday that it has strengthened its rules of engagement in the wake of North Korea’s Aug. 9 artillery firing in which shells fell south of the inter-Korean sea border.

South Korea will allow the firing of artillery two to three times stronger on the North after sending a warning to Pyongyang should the communist country fire artillery beyond the Northern Limit Line, the de facto inter-Korean maritime border in the Yellow Sea.

At a plenary session of the parliamentary national defense committee Tuesday, South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young was asked by ruling Grand National Party lawmaker Yoo Seung-min on countermeasures against the North’s artillery firing in waters south of the border.

Kim said, “We have revised the rules of engagement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and notified frontline units of this. The previous rules of engagement required us to take no action if North Korea stopped shooting after we sent three warning messages. But given the North’s recent artillery shooting on the coast, we revised the rules in line with the rules of engagement for a ground battle.”

“If an enemy opens fire in waters south of the inter-Korean sea border, we will respond with measures two to three times stronger.”

Under the rules of engagement for a ground battle, if North Korea attacks South Korean territory, Seoul should react with firepower two to three times stronger after giving warnings regardless of additional attacks by Pyongyang.

The South Korean military came under fire for its lukewarm response Aug. 9, when 10 North Korean artillery shells landed south of the inter-Korean sea border.

Certain lawmakers raised fears that more aggressive rules of engagement could lead to an escalation of military conflict. Kim responded by saying, “We will open fire in empty waters corresponding to North Korea’s firepower,” adding, “Though the North’s firing doesn’t incur damage, counter shooting is a punishment of the North for its provocation.”

A Defense Ministry source also said, “The North Korean military continues to prepare for large-scale national events near Pyongyang and is deploying a large number of troops, armored vehicles and cannons.”

The military movement apparently seeks to support a meeting of representatives of the ruling North Korean Workers’ Party next month and events to celebrate the party’s 65th anniversary in October, the ministry said.