South Korea’s new Air Force chief on Wednesday called for firm readiness to defend against any attacks by North Korea amid heightened tension sparked by its nuclear and missile threats.
Gen. Lee Wang-keun, the Air Force chief of staff, made the remark during his visit to the Air Force Operation Command at Osan Air Base, south of Seoul. He took office last Friday.
“We need to maintain the firm airborne monitoring system to counter North Korea’s strategic and tactical provocations,” Lee was quoted as saying by the Air Force.
He was briefed by South Korean and US Air Force commanders over Pyongyang’s latest saber-rattling at the Korean Air and Space Operations Center (KAOC) located in the command.
The KAOC, at the US Forces Korea’s Osan Air Base, commands and controls the allies’ joint air and space operations during wartime and is also in charge of directing missile operations by all branches of the military.
Next Monday, South Korea and the US will kick off annual joint drills, which Pyongyang has denounced as a rehearsal for a northern invasion.
He called for thorough preparations for the exercises, which Seoul and Washington say are defensive in nature, according to the Air Force.
North Korea on Tuesday backed off on its threat to fire four intermediate-range ballistic missiles toward the US territory of Guam. But experts said that Pyongyang may make provocations in response to the allies’ planned drills. (Yonhapnews)