Defense chief calls for maintaining capabilities to strike N.K. leadership

South Korea's defense chief on Friday called for maintaining operational capabilities to eliminate the North Korean leadership in a contingency in order to deter its nuclear threats, his ministry said. Defense Minister Shin Won-sik made the remark as he visited the Agency for Defense Development in Daejeon, 139 kilometers south of Seoul, days after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he has no intention of avoiding war with the South. "In order to deter North Korea's nuclear threats, (we) must be equipped with capabilities for the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) operations at all times," Shin was quoted as saying by the ministry. The KMPR refers to an operational plan to incapacitate the North Korean leadership in a major conflict. It is a pillar of the military's "three-axis" deterrence system that includes the Kill Chain preemptive strike platform and the Korea Air and Missile Defense system. Shin inspected weapons systems being developed for the three-axis system, such as the long-ran ge air-to-surface missile and the low-altitude missile defense system, as well as advanced unmanned assets, including stealth and killer drones, his office said. The North's leader threatened to annihilate the South if it attempts to use force against the North, as he inspected major munitions factories earlier this week. Source: Yonhap News Agency