SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea referred to as North Korea “our enemy” in its biennial protection doc revealed Thursday, reviving the label for its rival for the primary time in six years, as tensions worsen between the 2 international locations.
North Korea performed an unprecedented variety of missile assessments in 2022, together with simulated nuclear attacks on South Korea. In response, South Korea’s conservative authorities led by President Yoon Suk Yeol has been seeking a stronger U.S. security commitment and boosting its personal navy capabilities.
Descriptions of North Korea in previous South Korean protection white papers mirror the altering rocky ties between the 2 Koreas. Previous South Korean paperwork referred to as North Korea the “most important enemy,” “current enemy” or “enemy” in occasions of animosity. However they averted such references when relations have been improved.
North Korea “doesn’t quit its nukes and is persistently posing military threats to us, so the North Korean authorities and navy … is our enemy,” the 2022 South Korean protection white paper issued Thursday mentioned.
The doc famous that in December, North Korean chief Kim Jong Un referred to as South Korea “our undoubted enemy” in a speech at a key ruling celebration assembly. It additionally cited the passage of a brand new North Korean legislation authorizing pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons in a broad vary of eventualities.
The doc mentioned the North Korean nuclear program and provocations “are severely threatening our safety.” It mentioned the primary targets of South Korean protection insurance policies embody bracing for threats and a possible invasion by North Korea, deterring a conflict on the Korean Peninsula and contributing to a peaceable future Korean reunification.
North Korea didn’t instantly reply to the revived use of enemy terminology within the South Korean protection paper, although it has lashed out at previous such labels, calling them provocations that demonstrated South Korean hostility.
South Korea first referred to as North Korea its “most important enemy” in 1995, a 12 months after North Korea threatened to show Seoul into “sea of fireplace” — rhetoric the North has since repeatedly used when confrontations flared with the South.
Throughout a earlier period of inter-Korean detente within the 2000s, South Korea stopped utilizing the enemy terminology, however revived it after 50 South Koreans have been killed in assaults blamed on North Korea in 2010 — 46 within the torpedoing of a navy ship and 4 within the shelling of a border island.
South Korea once more averted utilizing enemy labels when it was ruled by Yoon’s liberal predecessor Moon Jae-in, who espoused larger reconciliation with North Korea. Protection paperwork revealed throughout Moon’s 2017-2022 rule didn’t point out North Korea by title after they mentioned South Korea’s navy “considers any drive that threatens and violates the sovereignty, territory, folks, and properties of the Republic of Korea as an enemy.”
The newest protection paper refers to Kim Jong Un by title with none of his titles, whereas earlier papers issued underneath Moon’s authorities used each his title and titles — “Chairman Kim Jong Un” or “State Affairs Fee Chairman Kim Jong Un.”
Yoon, who took workplace in Could final 12 months, has vowed a stern response to North Korean provocations. Throughout his election marketing campaign, Yoon wrote on Fb that “the primary enemy is North Korea” after it performed a sequence of missile assessments.