South Korea confirms it has military plan to remove Kim Jong Un

The plan could be activated to retaliate against the North Korean leadership in the event of a nuclear attack, Seoul says.
By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  Sept. 21, 2016 at 9:40 AM
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SEOUL, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- South Korea's defense ministry is planning a special force that could remove Kim Jong Un from power.

Defense Minister Han Min-koo also said Seoul needs to maintain the number of full-time troops at 500,000 or more if it is to resist an armed North Korean invasion, South Korean news network YTN reported Wednesday.

Han told lawmakers at South Korea's National Assembly there is "a plan" to assemble a unit that could target the North Korean leadership, referring to a plan known as the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation, or KMPR, local news service News 1 reported.

"If it becomes clear the enemy intends to use nuclear-tipped missiles, in order to suppress its aims, the concept [of the special forces] is to retaliate against key areas that include the North Korean leadership," Han said Wednesday.

KMPR is part of a "three-axis system" in South Korea's military that includes Seoul's homegrown anti-missile systems, the Korean Air and Missile Defense, or KAMD, and Kill Chain, a pre-emptive strike system.

Han also voiced concerns about South Korea's permanent troops, and said at least 500,000 soldiers need to be on active duty in order to deal with the North Korean threat, a number that cannot be upheld without conscription, which is the current policy.

North Korea has 1.2 million troops, according to Han.

South Korean lawmakers of both ruling and opposition parties unanimously condemned North Korea's nuclear weapons proliferation, and in a rare show of unity on the issue some politicians have begun advocating for the reinstatement of tactical nuclear weapons on the peninsula, Maeil Business reported Wednesday.

Kim Jin-pyo of the Minjoo Party of Korea, the opposition, said if China and Russia do not take "effective action to join sanctions against North Korea's nuclear development" there is no option other than to deploy tactical weapons in the country.

Lee Cheol-uoo of the ruling Saenuri Party said in addition to tactical nuclear weapons, means of developing Seoul's own nuclear deterrent, conducting pre-emptive strikes and regime change should all be reviewed.

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