Kim Jong-un a Loose Cannon, Says USFK Chief

      October 25, 2012 12:26

      USFK chief Gen. James Thurman on Tuesday said the young North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is even more "unpredictable" than his late father Kim Jong-il.

      Speaking at an Association of the U.S. Army luncheon in Washington, Thurman said Kim is "an unpredictable ruler" who is "making changes" as he consolidates his power. "His actions have increased uncertainty on the peninsula and in the greater Northeast Asia region," Thurman said, adding that Kim is more "assertive" than his late father.

      Meanwhile, South Korea and the U.S. agreed in annual military talks to assess the different threats posed by North Korea's weapons of mass destruction and come up with "tailored responses" to deal with each threat.

      "Tailored responses" are a euphemism for precision strikes using strategic nuclear weapons as well as conventional weapons to deal with North Korean nuclear and biological weapons, ballistic missiles, mobile launch platforms and other threats under both wartime and peacetime scenarios.

      They agreed to hold drill every year to practice suppressing North Korean provocations using tailored responses.

      U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (left) and his Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin at a press conference in Washington D.C. on Wednesday /Yonhap

      They also agreed to form what is called a "Kill Chain" -- a series of weapons systems that can track, identify, make decisions and strike North Korean missiles, shortening the time required to take down the North's missiles to less than 30 minutes.

      Seoul and Washington also signed a pact to cooperate in space defense programs. Two South Korean officers will attend a training program at the U.S. Military Space Command. The two defense ministers in a joint statement said North Korea must "acknowledge and abide by" the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border, while stressing the need to conduct and develop joint military exercises along the line to deal with North Korean provocations there.

      They also agreed to sign by January of next year a common strategy to deal with limited North Korean provocations.

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