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S. Korea not to call NK ‘main enemy’ in white paper

Posted December. 27, 2010 00:53,   


The Defense Ministry said Sunday that it will not use the term “main enemy” in its 2010 defense white paper to be published around the end of this month.

A ministry official said, “We will not describe the North Korean military as the main enemy,” adding, “We already call the North Korean military the main enemy and they are called enemies externally. So we will not use the term ‘main enemy’ in the defense white paper.”

The ministry released reference materials the same day and said, “We didn’t directly use the term ‘main enemy’ in the white paper, but a stronger term implying the meaning of ‘main enemy’ will be used.”

The white paper will reportedly describe the North as a key threat instead of an enemy. A military official in Seoul said, “We explicitly call North Korean forces the main enemy, but considering inter-Korean relations in the future, a public definition of the North as the main enemy will be a burden.”

The decision, however, is likely to stir a backlash since public opinion in South Korea against North Korea has worsened in the wake of the North`s sinking of the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan and artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island.

The term “main enemy” was used in Seoul’s 1995 defense white paper after Pyongyang threatened to turn the South Korean capital into “a sea of flames” at an inter-Korean working-level meeting in 1994. Since 2004, when Seoul was led by the Roh Moo-hyun administration, the term had been replaced with “direct” or “existing military threat.”