New Defense Chief Pledges Tougher Response to Provocations

      December 07, 2010 08:49

      The new defense minister, Kim Kwan-jin, has stressed the need to exercise South Korea's right to defend itself against any further military provocation by North Korea.

      Kim was speaking Monday in his first meeting with reporters since he took office. "I've instructed the military to respond in self-defense to any provocation by the North," Kim said. "Self-defense is a concept whereby we retaliate if the enemy attacks first."

      He said the current rules of engagement "do not apply to the right of self-defense which allows to respond the enemy based on the principles of necessity and proportionality. The extent to which we exercise the right to self-defense is until the enemy gives up its will for provocation."

      He said a working group will study whether to invoke the principle within the context of the current rules of engagement or under a separate category. "Either way we'll make sure that the rules of engagement are revised," he added.

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