South Korea Fires Hyunmoo-2 Ballistic Missile In Response to North Korean Missile Test

Some how I doubt Kim Jong-un was impressed by this South Korean response to his recent missile test over Japan considering one missile did not even work:

South Korea’s military said Friday it has fired two ballistic missiles in a swift response to North Korea’s latest provocation.

The Army shot the Hyunmoo-2 missiles from an eastern site near the inter-Korean border just six minutes after the North’s missile firing from Pyongyang.

One “accurately hit” a simulated target in the East Sea about 250 kilometers away, a Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) official told reporters in a background briefing.

It’s the same distance between the training area and the Sunan airfield in Pyongyang, where the missile was fired.

The other, however, fell into water “in the initial stage,” he added. Related authorities are analyzing the reason.

A defense ministry official pointed out the South’s response came while the North’s missile was still flying.

He stressed that the military was able to take such a quick measure as it detected signs of the secretive North preparing to fire the missile in advance. Related information was immediately reported to President Moon Jae-in who ordered the missile training.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

 

South Korea Forms “Spartan 3000” Brigade to Hunt Kim Jong-un If Ordered

I doubt Kim Jong-un is very concerned about this when he knows there is almost zero chance the ROK President is willing to execute such a preemptive strike.  This report seems more for domestic consumption to show the ROK public the government is “doing something”:

South Korea’s defense minister is publicly boasting that it will create a new “decapitation unit” called the Spartan 3000 with the express intent of taking out North Korean leadership, The New York Times reports.

The brigade-sized unit of between 2,000 and 4,000 soldiers will be established by year’s end, The Times reported the defense minister, Song Young-moo, as saying, adding that the military was already “retooling” helicopters and transporting planes to be able to penetrate North Korean airspace at night.

It’s out of the ordinary for a senior government leader to publicly say they are working on a plan to assassinate a foreign head of state. But there’s an interesting reason behind it: The South is trying to freak out its northern neighbor and get it to the negotiating table instead of further developing nuclear weapons.

“The best deterrence we can have, next to having our own nukes, is to make Kim Jong Un fear for his life,” retired South Korean Lt. Gen. Shin Won-sik told The Times.  [Business Insider]

You can read more at the link.

Picture of the Day: Silmido Funeral

Joint funeral for Silmido commandos after 46 years

Guards carrying a portrait and the remains of the deceased secret commandos trained to infiltrate North Korea during the Cold War era leave a funeral hall in Goyang, north of Seoul, after their joint funeral on Aug. 23, 2017. Unit 684, better known as the Silmido unit, named after the island off the west coast where it was secretly based, was established in 1968 by the government following North Korea’s failed attempt to attack the presidential office in Seoul earlier that year, but their existence became useless amid the reconciliation between the two Koreas. The existence of the anti-communist unit had been thoroughly denied by the government, and a group of 24 surviving commandos blew themselves up while trying to enter Seoul on a stolen bus. In 2010, the court ordered the state to compensate the bereaved families of the commandos. (Yonhap)

Report Claims ROK Military Developing Preemptive Strike Plan Against North Korea

The ROK military likely has personnel planning for all kinds of contingencies, but people are living in a fantasy land if they think President Moon is any where near authorizing a preemptive strike on North Korea:

According to a report in South Korea’s Munhwa Ilbo newspaper, which cites an unidentified government official, South Korea’s military is preparing a “surgical strike” scenario that could wipe out North Korean command and missile and nuclear facilities following an order by S.Korea’s President Moon Jae-in. Munhwa adds that the military is to report the scenario to presidential office after completing it as early as August 1.

As the report details, South Korea’s Special Forces are preparing a special strike op which would be launched in response to President Moon Jae-In’s order to remove the North Korean leadership in case of emergency. This operation is taking place in addition to separate preparations currently conducted by the country’s military forces.

Targeted by the surgical strike would be North Korea’s core facilities. As part of the operation, South Korea’s forces would launch Taurus cruise missiles from F-15 fighters, which would be able to strike all key facilities in Pyongyang and can also strike the office of the Chairman of the Labor Party, Kim Jong Eun, at the Pyongyang Labor Party headquarters.  [Zero Hedge]

You can read more at the link.

South Korea Looks to Increase Capability of Ballistic Missile Warheads

I don’t think the North Koreans will be too impressed by this news considering they are developing nuclear warheads:

In this file photo provided by the Ministry of Defense on June 23, 2017, Hyunmoo-2, a new homegrown ballistic missile with a range of 800 kilometers, is test-fired from a mobile launch pad at a test site of the Agency for Defense Development in Anheung, 200 kilometers southwest of Seoul, the same day with President Moon Jae-in on hand. (Yonhap)

The South Korean government is pushing to revise the missile guidelines developed with the United States to double the maximum weight of warheads on Seoul’s ballistic missiles from the current 500 kilograms to counter growing threats from the North, sources said Monday.

The Seoul government proposed the revision in line with the Seoul-Washington summit last month, and is known to be planning to begin talks regarding the issue during the annual Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) and the Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue (KIDD) later this year, they said.

In 2012, the allies revised the ballistic missile guidelines, allowing Seoul to extend the maximum allowable missile range to 800 kilometers from the previous limit of 300 km, against North’s advancing nuclear and ballistic missile capacities. Under the deal, Seoul can load up to 500 kg of warheads on missiles with the range of 800 km.

“Our military is reviewing various measures to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations,” a government official said, declining to comment on the possible revision.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

ROK Defense Ministry Discloses How It Followed Environmental Laws to Deploy THAAD System

This was actually clever what the Korean Defense Ministry did to comply with ROK environmental laws that would have delayed the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system for up to year:

THAAD site on former South Korean golf course outside of Seongju.

A fact-finding mission into the deployment of a U.S. antimissile system in Korea in April raised a new suspicion that the Ministry of National Defense tried to sidestep an environmental study required by the law, the Blue House said Monday.

Following the discovery, President Moon Jae-in ordered a proper environmental study, effectively stalling the deployment schedule to be completed by the end of this year.

The probe also found that Lt. Gen. Wee Seung-ho, deputy defense minister of policy, has ordered his team to delete crucial pieces of information from a report to Moon’s security team, Yoon Young-chan, senior secretary for public relations, said in a press briefing.

Moon ordered last week an investigation into the ministry’s failure to fully brief his team about the U.S. military’s delivery of four additional launchers for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) antimissile system.

The probe identified Wee as responsible for the omission and revealed that the ministry tried to avoid the environmental impact study. The conclusion was reported to Moon at the senior secretariat meeting on Monday.

Despite protests by Beijing and Moscow, Seoul and Washington agreed on the deployment of a Thaad battery in July 2016.

Key components of a Thaad battery, including a radar system and two missile launchers, were installed on a former golf course in Seongju, North Gyeongsang, on April 26 – less than two weeks before the May 9 election that brought Moon to power.

A Thaad battery typically consists of six launchers, 48 interceptors, a fire control and communication unit and radar. The military authorities of Korea and the United States planned to complete the deployment before the end of this year.

According to Yoon, the ministry created a plan on Nov. 25, 2016 that it will offer the Seongju site to the U.S. military in two separate transfers. Of the 700,000 square-meter (173-acre) site, a 328,779 square-meter piece was transferred in the first phase and another piece, about 370,000 square meters, was planned to be offered later in the second phase.

“By designating the first phase site to be smaller than 330,000 square meters, the ministry planned that only a summary environmental impact study was needed,” Yoon said. The law requires a full-scale environmental study when the site is larger than 330,000 square meters.

Yoon then said the first phase site is an odd-looking inverse U-shaped piece of land. “The shape was abnormally designed in order to exclude the land that is supposed to be inside the U shape,” he said.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link, but General Wee claims that he ordered the deletion in the report about the four launchers because the US military asked him to.  My guess would be that the US military wanted to keep the location of the launchers secret for operational security reasons.  We will see how this plays out, but my assessment is that the Moon administration will use this to maximum political advantage to appease his base without actually changing the deployment decision.

ROK Naval Lieutenant Commits Suicide After Claiming Superior Officer Rape Her

The ROK Naval Captain is claiming that the sex was consensual, but regardless the Captain shouldn’t be sleeping with a junior officer in the first place.  However, I am not sure if the ROK military has any guidelines against such behavior; if not it should:

A female Navy lieutenant, under the purview of the Navy’s headquarters at the Gyeryongdae compound, was found dead in her home on 5:40 p.m. Wednesday.

While the naval military police view the incident as a suicide, they arrested a male navy captain under allegations of having sexually assaulted the lieutenant the night before.

Her colleagues attempted to reach her by phone after noting her absence in the workplace.

When they went to her home and found she had apparently hanged herself, they contacted military police.

Near her body was a memo saying, “I guess I’m leaving empty-handed like this,” and “By tomorrow, I won’t be a person of this world.”

“There are no signs of forced entry,” military police said.

“She told me she was raped by a superior,” a friend told her family, who then told police.

The military police arrested a naval captain who was at the domicile.

According to naval military police, the two officers drank into the night at a departmental dinner. Police suspect the captain raped her after she lost consciousness.

“I can’t remember clearly cause I was drunk,” he said, adding that while they had sex, he maintains it was consensual.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

ROK Troops Fire Shots at Possible Drone Flying Over the DMZ

It looks like the North Koreans have flown another drone over the DMZ:

South Korean troops fired warning shots at an “unidentified object” flying across the heavily fortified border from North Korea Tuesday afternoon, the South’s military announced.

The military detected the object traversing the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) southward in the Chorwon area in the eastern province of Gangwon at around 4 p.m., according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

It added the South’s military fired warning shots along with dispatching a warning broadcast.

A defense source said the military fired more than 90 K-3 machine gun rounds, adding it may have been a drone.

The South’s military is analyzing the object and its route and has beefed up its air defense posture, said the JCS.  [Yonhap]

It looks like the ROK military needs to get themselves fielded with these systems to counter the drones North Korea is increasingly using.