|President Yoon Suk-yeol speaks during the second meeting of the presidential defense innovation committee at the presidential office building in Seoul on Aug. 8, 2023./ Source: Yonhap News
AsiaToday reporter Hong Sun-mi
President Yoon Suk-yeol stressed Tuesday the military should be transformed into a strong force with “overwhelming response capabilities against North Korea’s threat, so that it does not dare to fight.”
Yoon made the remark while presiding over the second meeting of the presidential defense innovation committee at his office, saying the military’s concept and operation plan should be based on such strategies. The meeting was held three months after the launch of the committee in May.
The previous Moon Jae-in government’s defense reform 2.0, which reduced volume and size of the military due to improved inter-Korean relations, is evaluated to have failed to produce clear results in electrification of high-tech weapons systems to supplement it.
In response, the Yoon Suk-yeol government has set a goal to replace Defense Reform 2.0 with Deference Reform 4.0 and foster strong forces by promoting innovation in response to North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile provocations. The defense innovation committee’s focus on inspecting innovation in military power is seen as part of the goal. Analysts say that the meeting is related to the discussion of cooperation measures to strengthen deterrence against the North at the upcoming trilateral summit between South Korea, the U.S., and Japan to be held in the U.S. on Aug. 18.
“The asymmetric threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, and cyber and drone capabilities, is an imminent threat that should be prepared first,” Yoon said.
“Our military strategy should be established to curb North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats and to remove the source of the threat early through an imminent and overwhelming response from the South Korea-U.S. alliance in the event of North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations,” he said.
“Through a rational and effective distribution of financial resources, we must build our deterrence and response capabilities against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats with priority,” the president said. “We need to try to boldly adjust projects aimed at operating weapons systems that are not immediately urgent.”
As a result, the Ministry of National Defense announced its plan to allocate funds to concentrate its resources on projects to secure surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, ultra-precision and high-level strike capabilities, and complex and multi-layered anti-aircraft defense capabilities in all regions of North Korea, while excluding conventional power enhancement projects that were previously planned but lacked urgency from the mid-term plan and reviewing them from the ground.