The Blue House (Cheongwadae) has to go over the S. Korean armed forces’ counter-North Korean provocation response manual, not to mention its own crisis response manual.
Even though all the S. Koreans pray for a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula and peaceful reunification of the two Koreas, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s miscalculation could drive the two Koreas into a second Korean War.
History has taught us over and over again that things don't always turn out as we wish.
The things we least wanted to experience lay in store for us - for instance, the Japanese invasions of Korea in 1592, the Second Manchu Invasion (or “Byungjahoran), the Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty and Japanese colonial rule (1910–45) in Korea.
Those painful events shouldn’t have happened to us. However, they occurred regardless of whether we wanted or not - because we were weak and unable to protect our territory.
Unfortunately, things haven’t changed much since then. Except the fact that this time our enemies speak the same language as we do, we (S. Korea) are again overmatched in terms of military power.
The South is left with few ways to foil North Korea’s attempts to launch massive strikes on it or wage a full-scale war against it.
Our deterrence against nuclear-armed North Korea has already collapsed.
Our prevention measure is to leverage our diplomatic ties with the US, China, Russia and Japan in pressuring North Korea into staying clear of any provocations or an all-out war.
To do so, we need to obtain pledges of cooperation from them ahead of time, so we need to proactively take diplomatic action now before it gets too late.
And S. Korea needs to make North Korea realize that if Pyongyang makes preparations for war or schemes to cause a second Korean War, i.e. if S. Korea detects any signs of the North moving its vehicles, tanks and troops or supplying fuel for a nuclear missile launch, S. Korea-US military alliance will get ready to burn to the ground all the hideouts of Kim Jong-un, all the nuclear facilities before North Korea does any harm to us.
To do so, we need to let the North know that the South can launch a preemptive strike on the North if needs be in close cooperation with the US.
Thus, until the possibility of inter-Korean armed conflict completely disappears on the Korean peninsula, S. Korea should urgently contemplate the deployment of US tactical nuclear weapons, as well as a US missile defense called THAAD in South Korea.
Jung Yeon-tae, Chairman of the National Innovation Forum