December 07, 2022 09:34
The first biennial defense white paper of the Yoon Suk-yeol administration will refer to North Korea as the "enemy" again for the first time since 2016.
"We will make it clear in the white paper to be published next month that the North Korean regime, which continues nuclear weapons development and military threats, is South Korea's enemy," a Defense Ministry official told the Chonsun Ilbo on Tuesday. "We're checking for the last time if there is any more appropriate expression."
The previous government of President Moon Jae-in, in an attempt at appeasement, stopped identifying North Korea in the white paper in 2018. Instead, it used the phrase "any force that threatens and infringes South Korea's sovereignty, territory, people and property."
The question regularly makes headlines even though it might be regarded as purely semantic, and tempers run high on both sides of the argument. A Unification Ministry official said, "Even if we use the expression 'enemy,' we aren't ruling out inter-Korean dialogue and cooperation."
Meanwhile, the North continued to lob artillery shells into a maritime buffer zone in the East Sea for a second day running. It fired some 100 artillery rounds into the sea from Kosong, Kangwon Province, according to the South Korean military.
In a statement, North Korea said it was responding to South Korea's joint artillery drills with the U.S. early this week.
But those drills were conducted in inland areas in line with the cross-border agreement. "The North is violating the 2018 military agreement by complaining about routine drills which were never a bone of contention before," a military officer here said. "Maybe it is trying to build a justification for a higher-level provocation like a fresh nuclear test."
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