As North Korea continues its nuclear weapons development, an increasingly vulnerable South Korean government is taking new steps to bolster its ability to strike Pyongyang — preemptively, if necessary.
On Wednesday, Seoul conducted its first-ever live-fire test of an advanced, air-launched stealthy cruise missile that could be used to strike North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his senior leadership.
The German-made missile was launched from an F-15, has a range of about 310 miles, and represents a significant improvement in South Korea’s first-strike capability. Defense officials in Seoul told various media outlets that the weapon can strike any of North Korea’s known nuclear sites within 15 minutes.
The missile test comes following reports that South Korea is also developing a “decapitation unit” that is specially equipped and trained to infiltrate North Korea and assassinate its senior leadership.
Both of those measures are seen not only as alternatives to calls by some U.S. and South Korean lawmakers to bring U.S.-made nuclear weapons back to the peninsula — which the administration of President Moon Jae-in has not publicly supported — but also as measures designed to keep Kim off-balance.
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