President Moon Jae-in on Monday ordered the country's military to further enhance its defense readiness, calling for enough capabilities to counter what he called North Korea's "asymmetrical" threats that include nuclear weapons.
"If North Korea is focusing on developing nuclear and missile capabilities, which are asymmetric capabilities, instead of conventional weapons, we, too, must possess asymmetric countermeasures and that is where the three key defense systems come in," the president said while meeting with defense ministry officials, according to his top press secretary Yoon Young-chan.
The three key defense systems or defense pillars refer to South Korea's own kill chain, missile defense system and massive punishment and retaliation capabilities. The government is seeking to establish such systems by 2020, greatly enhancing the country's defense capabilities.
The president stressed the need to eradicate corruption in the defense industry, noting the country has been and is investing far more than the impoverished North but that many, including military officials, still doubted whether the country can overwhelm the communist state.
"President Moon noted South Korea's gross domestic product (GDP) was 45 times larger than that of North Korea, and based on such figures, our defense capabilities must be able to overwhelm those of North Korea, but asked if (the military) in fact was confident to do so," the Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters.
The president also stressed the importance of defense reform to enhance the country's defense capabilities.
"I want you to strongly push for a reform of the military structure to meet the requirements of modern warfare so that it can quickly switch to an offensive posture in case North Korea stages a provocation that crosses the line or attacks the capital region," the president said, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.
"Also, I want you to further enhance our military's mobility, landing abilities and air defense capabilities," he added.