Send to

Defense minister nominee vows to 'firmly punish' N. Korea in event of provocation

Sept. 27, 2023 - 10:35 By Yonhap
Defense Minister nominee Shin Won-sik attends a confirmation hearing at the National Assembly in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

Defense Minister nominee Shin Won-sik vowed Wednesday to "firmly punish" North Korea in the event of military provocations and warned the regime will come to an end should it conduct a nuclear attack.

Shin, a ruling People Power Party lawmaker who retired as a three-star Army general and is known for his expertise in defense policy and military operations, made the remarks during his confirmation hearing at the National Assembly.

"I will build a powerful defense posture that overwhelms the enemy," Shin said, noting that the North continues to threaten South Korea with various military provocations and preparations for a nuclear test.

"If North Korea attempts a nuclear attack, its regime will come to an end."

Shin, who is also known as a vocal supporter of President Yoon Suk Yeol's drive to bolster security ties with the United States, pledged to further bolster their alliance.

"I will strengthen joint South Korea-U.S. exercises and training," Shin said, adding he will also push to expand military cooperation with member nations of the United Nations Command and other friendly countries.

Noting the military's difficulties in hiring new recruits, Shin said he will develop future combat systems, such as those based on artificial intelligence, and improve working conditions for junior servicemen.

The parliamentary confirmation hearing is widely seen as a formality because his formal appointment does not require endorsement from the National Assembly.

In South Korea, the prime minister is the only Cabinet post that requires parliamentary approval. (Yonhap)