South Korea’s Defense Ministry to establish team to monitor North Korea’s nuclear activity

December 26, 2017 3:30 am
South ’s President Moon Jae-in (R) presides over an emergency meeting with National Security Council members at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on November 29, 2017, following a new North Korean missile test. (AFP photo)
’s Defense Ministry has decided to form a special team to monitor ’s nuclear activities as fears grow over a potential nuclear confrontation in the region.
According to a government release from Seoul on Tuesday, the South Korean Cabinet approved the creation of the North Korea Policy Bureau, a team it was would be responsible for Defense Department’s overall North Korea strategy.
The establishment of the bureau is part of a wider organizational restructuring in South Korea’s armed forces in face of growing calls for dedication of more resources to exclusively handling North Korea affairs.
The office would be comprised of three existing divisions as well as a new one, named North Korean Nuclear-Deterrence Policy Division, which would be responsible for developing policies to deter North Korea’s nuclear program in cooperation with similar units in the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff.
One of the existing divisions, the Arms Control Division and the Counter WMD, would be renamed and reorganized into the Missile and Space Policy Division as there are increasing fears about North Korea’s space activities that many say are directly linked to the country’s missile advancement.
Tensions have been boiling on the Korean peninsula since early summer when Pyongyang test-fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and then carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test. Defying rounds of United Nations economic sanctions, the North tested a new ICBM, the Hwasong-15, nearly a month ago.
Experts say North Korea has virtually mastered the capability to use the ICBMs with nuclear warheads in potential attacks that could target the entire United States, South Korea’s closest ally in countering the North.
Many also fear that increased pressure on North Korea and bellicose threats of war against the isolated nation from Washington could finally spark a nuclear confrontation in the region. Pyongyang harshly reacted to a recent round of sanctions adopted Friday over the test-firing of Hwasong-15, and called them an act of war.
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