SEOUL, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Concerned about recent skirmishes with Pyongyang, South Korea's top military leadership has vowed to create battle-ready forces to counter North Korea.
South Korean Army Chief of Staff Gen. Kim Sang-ki in his New Year's message told his forces: "This year, North Korea may again attempt to test our combat preparedness and willingness to respond.
"Our aim is clear. We must create battle-ready troops getting fully prepared to fight and win if the enemy provokes us again" while ordering the army to reform its bureaucratic practices and hold "realistic maneuvers to nurture highly disciplined field commanders and soldiers," Yonhap news agency reported Monday.
Echoing Chief of Staff Gen. Kim's calls for vigilance and preparedness, air force Chief of Staff Gen. Park Jong-heon said, "North Korea's artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island demonstrated that the North could make a provocation in an unpredictable manner at an unpredictable moment.
"By ensuring the round-the-clock air surveillance and early warning system, we should hone our ability to resolutely retaliate if North Korea provokes us again."