S. Korea and U.S. Need to Bolster Defense Capabilities: Sharp
Retired General Walter Sharp, former Commander of the U.S. Forces Korea, says South Korean and U.S. forces should beef up both their defense AND offensive capabilities against North Korea.
During a forum on Thursday hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank,the retired general said that North Korea is more threatening today than it was several years ago and warned that the communist nation is approaching the ability to attack anywhere in the world with nuclear-tipped missiles.
Given the threat this presents, he called for three things: development of robust missile defense systems, construction of regional intelligence sharing systems, and continued diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea.
He recommended that Seoul and Washington continue to develop layered missile defense systems that could quickly strike anywhere in North Korea.
He also said the South Korea-Japan intelligence sharing agreement, which has stalled amid controversy in Seoul, is the key to an effective missile defense system, and urged the regional allies to share military secrets to better monitor North Korea.
Saying that the latest round of UN sanctions is not enough, the former general also urged the international community to continue pressuring Pyongyang with tighter diplomatic and economic sanctions.
Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, former U.S. envoy to the six-party talks, echoed Sharp's view, saying that China should play a bigger role in defusing the military tensions on the Korean peninsula since it has the leverage to do so.
Both high-profile experts also warned of cyber threats from the North, in light of speculation that the North orchestrated this week's attack on banks and broadcasters in the South.
"It's another form of attack that would be valued to Kim Jong-un. That's why it's very critical that both South Korea and the U.S. and really, the world need the capability to defend from such attack."
South Korea's defense ministry says it has strengthened its cyber unit, in line with its new long-term national defense plan,.. to counter potential cyber attacks from the North.
Han Da-eun, Arirang News.
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