SEOUL, Mar 7 – South Korean defence minister Kim Kwan-jin on Wednesday renewed his pledge of retaliation against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in case of a provocation.
“In case of North Korea (DPRK)’s provocation, we should resolutely and powerfully retaliate until the enemy surrenders,” Kim told troops based on Yeonpyeong Island, a western border island shelled by the DPRK in 2010, according to local reports.
The South Korean military should “automatically” respond to future DPRK provocations, the minister added.
The shelling killed two South Korean marines and two civilians, which had sent the already soured cross-border relations to a new low. Earlier in 2010, 46 South Korean sailors were killed in what Seoul said was Pyongyang’s torpedo attack on a warship.
The DPRK has said the shelling was a response to a military drill between South Korea and the United States near a disputed western maritime border, and has repeatedly denied its involvement in the sinking.
The defence chief’s remarks came as Pyongyang raises rhetoric against Seoul after an anti-Pyongyang poster was found in military barracks here.
The DPRK’s state media blasted the poster, saying it amounts to “defamation of supreme dignity” of its leadership.
Earlier this week, Col Gen Pyon In Son, commander of the 4th Corps of the DPRK army, threatened to turn South Korea into “a real sea of fire,” according to the Associated Press.
The latest tension between the estranged Koreas comes after Pyongyang struck a deal with Washington in which it will halt its nuclear tests and uranium enrichment in return for food aid.
Observers say Pyongyang is seeking to isolate Seoul as it mends ties with Washington.