No more Mr. Nice Guy.
The Kukmin Ilbo, quoting a high-ranking military official, reports that Seoul has recently crafted plans to attack Pyongyang independently—or, in other words, regardless of American approval or support—if North Korea attacks Seoul or the capital region.
The new guidelines have reportedly been handed down to subordinate units.
The change takes Korea beyond simply retaliating against the source of provocations and supporting units to striking sites that correspond with the sites targeted by the North Koreans.
In particular, the official said South Korea has no choice but to hold back out of consideration of the position of the UN Command, which must abide by and uphold the Armistice Agreement, but now the South would immediately retaliate in self-defence. He explained the situation had completely changed since North Korea shelled Yeonpyeong-do, a violation fo the Armistice Agreement. In the past, approval was needed from the Combined Forces Command (i.e., the Americans) in accordance with the Armistice Agreement’s rules of engagement. Another military official said Seoul can now use the Korean military independently on the basis of an active deterrent and the right to self-defence.
This is believed to be in response to recent threats by North Korea to attack the capital region, including the presidential mansion of Cheong Wa Dae.
The hard-line guidelines are reportedly on orders from Defence Minister Kim Kwang-jin. In fact, during a visit to the command of Korea’s guide missile force early last month, Kim stressed Korea needed to be ready to hit not just the sites from which provocations were launched, but also regions corresponding to the victimized areas. The base Kim visited is reportedly home to ATACMS, 300km-range guided missiles and cruise missiles with ranges of 1,000km and more, including the Hyunmoo-3B. The Hyunmoo-3C, with a range of 1,5000km, could hit North Korea underground Rodong and Scud missile sites at Yongjo-ri, Sangnam-ri and Yongnim.