South Korea is planning to send special forces units into Pyongyang in search of Kim Jong-un and his closest advisers in the event that North Korea should start a conventional war.
The plan is among the revisions being made to South Korea’s revised strategy for dealing with an attack from the North.
Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, was briefed by senior officials from the Defence Ministry on Monday – one day before North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan – about revisions to the present defence of the nation.
Mr Moon told the ministry to implement reforms to the military to meet the challenges that are increasingly being posed by North Korea.
He added that the military should be ready to “quickly switch to an offensive posture in case North Korea stages a provocation that crosses the line or attacks the capital region”, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported.
The prime minister also requested that the military increase its mobility as well as its ability to carry out airborne and sea landings and upgrade air defences.
In the event of a conventional conflict breaking out on the Korean Peninsula, North Korean artillery is expected to bombard the South’s defences along the Demilitarised Zone as well as shelling Seoul, which is less than 50 miles south of the border.
Massed tanks and infantry units, assisted by saboteurs and agents already in the South, would attempt to swiftly seize Seoul and other key cities and facilities in South Korea before the United States and, potentially, other allied nations could land reinforcements.
Under the existing US-South Korean plan for the defence of the South, known as OPLAN 5015, the two nations would aim to bring their overwhelming air and naval superiority to bear from bases in South Korea and Japan, as well as aircraft carrier battle fleets in the western Pacific.
It would take weeks, however, before large-scale reinforcements, including heavy tanks and other equipment, could be landed.
The new South Korean plan will identify more than 1,000 primary targets in North Korea to be eliminated by missiles and laser-guided…