A South Korean general decorated for an operation that took out armed North Korean guerillas assumed leadership of Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) on Tuesday, stressing “ruthless” retaliation to enemy provocations, APA reports citing Interfax.
In an evening ceremony, Army Gen. Kim Seung-kyum succeeded Air Force Gen. Won In-choul as JCS chairman and emphasized the need to bolster ROK defenses against North Korean nuclear and missile threats.
“If an enemy provokes us, our military will ruthlessly retaliate and make sure that it pays a horrible price,” Kim said in a speech, according to JCS. “We will engrave in the enemy’s bones that it has nothing to gain from provocation.”
While Kim did not directly refer to the DPRK as the enemy, he said North Korea has “continuously conducted military provocations” and is “gravely threatening the peace of the ROK and the world by bolstering its nuclear and missile capabilities.”
“The purpose of the military is to win a war in a time of emergency,” he stressed in his speech, calling for soldiers to always be prepared to fight and “closely watch our enemy.”
Kim faces defense tasks such as preparing the country’s response to a potential North Korean nuclear test, as well as alliance issues like bolstering U.S.-ROK extended deterrence as agreed at their joint summit last month.