South Korean fighter jets could fly into North Korea if the North launches another military provocation, Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said Wednesday.
Answering a question from Grand National Party lawmaker Kim Jung-hoon whether it is possible for South Korean fighter jets to strike North Korean military positions across the military demarcation line if the North shells South Korean territory again as it did last year, Kim said there is “no problem” with that idea.
Kim earlier said the South "can strike not only the sources of provocation but their backup" if the North provokes again.
A Defense Ministry official later tried to soothe ruffled feathers by claiming Kim meant "to clarify the principle of responding resolutely to the North's provocation, rather than talking about any concrete operational plan."
A military officer said, "This is a matter we need to consider carefully. If the North provokes again, we could launch a precision strike at the source of the provocation with fighter jets or missiles from areas south of the military demarcation line. But fighter jets might be shot down if they fly into North Korean airspace before the enemy's anti-air defense is neutralized."