On Wednesday, South Korea’s parliament asked Defense Minister Han Min-koo if his forces had a plan to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, should he make a credible attempt to deploy nuclear weapons.
“Yes, we do have such a plan,” Han replied, as quoted by CNN. “South Korea has a general idea and plan to use precision missile capabilities to target the enemy’s facilities in major areas as well as eliminating the enemy’s leadership.”
More specifically, Han said South Korea was “considering launching a special forces unit to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un,” and will “take action” if the North shows clear signs of attacking the South, according to Korea Times.
While it has been widely suspected South Korea had a fairly well-developed plan to take out Kim, CNN reports some surprise that the Defense Minister would openly discuss it in parliament, especially given how sensitive the North Koreans are to insults and threats.
Of course, the obvious reason for making such a well-publicized declaration is precisely to send a message to Pyongyang, whose behavior has been increasingly provocative of late. The South Korean military assumes North Korea’s recent fifth nuclear test will soon be followed up with a sixth.
Shortly after that fifth nuclear test, South Korea began talking up a plan called KMPR, for “Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation,” which emphasized wiping out the North Korean leadership if Pyongyang attacks.
“KMPR has been described as a part of a “three-axis system” of South Korea’s military in response to North Korea’s provocations, with Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) — Seoul’s homegrown anti-missile systems — and Kill Chain, a pre-emptive strike system by the South Korea-U.S. Joint Command,” Korea Times writes.