General Jung Seung-jo, who served as the chairman of South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff until last October, has raised the possibility that North Korea could wage an all-out war with South Korea.
Speaking at a seminar in Washington under the theme of "North Korea's Military Threat and South Korea-U.S. Alliance," Jung said Pyongyang's military capabilities and its long-standing ambition of a forceful unification means there's a possibility the North could initiate a major conflict with the South.
"Some experts assess that North Korea does not have the capability to conduct an all-out war due to the aged equipment and economic gap. However, I am skeptical of this assessment."
General Jung said North Korea boasts massive conventional armed forces, and it's intensifying its asymmetric military capabilities, such as diverse long-range missiles, and chemical and biological weapons.
He also expressed concern about North Korea conducting a fourth nuclear test.
"They will try to show off their diversity of nuclear weapons by utilizing highly enriched uranium to hold a high intensity nuclear test."
He added the North has deployed about 70 percent of its military capabilities, including its diverse long-range missiles, to regions south of Pyongyang.
This means it could carry out a surprise attack on South Korea at any time.
He stressed, however, that the South Korea-U.S. alliance has been successful in deterring North Korea.
The general said the South Korean military needs to keep strengthening its capabilities, especially in terms of tactical command and control, surveillance patrols and surgical strikes.
Park Ji-won, Arirang News.