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ROK-US combined live-fire exercise held at Kkotbong Shooting Range in Gyeonggi Province, January 12, 2023. (Image source: DVIDS)
Further boosting its defense and deterrence capabilities, South Korea unveiled its latest “Kill Web” concept earlier this month, which can shut down advancing nuclear threats even during the pre-launch stage.
This report from an anonymous South Korean defense official comes amid rising tensions with North Korea and Pyongyang’s nuclear threats and missile testing provocations, which have become alarmingly frequent in recent years.
Seoul’s defense ministry is looking to improve its immediate and strategic response plan, and the Kill Web concept is one of them.
What’s the “Kill Web” Concept?
The “Kill Web” concept, according to Yonhap, “refers to a multilayered yet integrated apparatus that employs cyber operations, electronic warfare tactics, and other means to disrupt and negate the enemy’s move to fire a missile even before its launch.” Unlike the country’s current Kill Chain preemptive strike system that proceeds in a single, linear direction, the in-development concept is much more flexible that allows “field officers to make adjustments to their initial target decisions,” subsequently optimizing its strike capabilities.
The Kill Chain is one of Seoul’s pillars in its Three-Axis deterrence system. It works alongside the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) campaign, which targets the enemy’s leadership, and the Korea Air and Missile Defense systems (KAMD) that would counter any approaching missile assaults.
The unnamed defense official also emphasized that the newest defense innovation would boost the strength of its existing preemptive strike system, operating as an effective supplement to the Kill Chain rather than replacing it. Moreover, the country would continue to invest more in artificial intelligence and other sophisticated technologies to ensure that its military can decisively win “a war with minimum casualties” within a short wartime period.
Aside from the Kill Web concept, South Korea’s military will also focus on improving its AI-based vigilance concept, utilizing both manned and unmanned equipment, on expanding its defense strength across its significant bases.
Keeping in Touch with the US
New defense innovation aside, South Korea continues to uphold solid military cooperation with the US through joint war games.
Allies simultaneously announced earlier this month that they would soon resume military drills, beginning with the annual large-scale Freedom Shield exercise, despite the North’s unprecedented vehement opposition to such activities. In addition, a nearly two-week computer-simulated command post training will happen from March 13-23.
Apart from bolstering defense and response capabilities, both countries stated that the training would include lessons learned from recent conflicts and the current trend of the ever-changing security environment, focusing on Pyongyang’s aggressions.
Additional joint field training will also occur during the anticipated military drills, including the Warrior Shield FTX and combined amphibious exercises, improving the operation execution capabilities of the US and South Korean forces.
With how North Korea responded to such drills last year, it is expected that the nuclear-armed communist-led country to retaliate and conduct yet again another ballistic missile test fire. They might break a new record this year. Pyongyang tested over 70 powerful projectiles in 2021 alone, the most ever in a single year, along with its steadfast threats to preemptively use its nuclear arsenal against the US and Seoul should tensions escalate for the worst.
In response, the US military warned the North that the use of nuclear weapons “will result in the end of that regime,” not just the latter’s enemies.
Pyongyang’s New Threats Against the US
Meanwhile, North Korea issued a new threat to the South and the United States, saying it will not hesitate to retaliate if one of its test missiles is shot down—viewing the action as a declaration of war.
Pyongyang’s state media KCNAreported Tuesday the strong statement of Kim Yo Jong, the influential sister of leader Kim Jong Un, adding that the joint exercises were the ones causing growing tension in the region.
"The Pacific Ocean does not belong to the dominium of the U.S. or Japan," warns Kim Yo Jong via KCNA.
While neither Seoul nor Washington has ever shot down a Pyongyang ballistic missile, “the question,” Reuters noted, has received renewed attention since “the North suggested it will fire more missiles over Japan.”
In her statement, Kim Yo Jong hinted that the North “could fire more missiles into the Pacific Ocean,” stressing that no one owns the vast water territory. Therefore, justifying its right to use it as its firing range.
Video courtesy of YouTube and Firstpost
At this point, the North is pushing the patience of the region’s superpowers to the brim. However, with the upcoming large-scale drills, the aggression of Pyongyang would undoubtedly put everyone on the verge of their seats again—anxiously waiting to see how the events would unfold and which side would break first.
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