SEOUL, Korea - South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) have briefed President Lee Myung-Bak on plans for a huge counter-attack on North Korea if it fires missiles at its navy ships, defence officials said Sunday.
The contingency plan, drafted amid growing cross-border tensions, was reported to Lee Saturday when the president visited an air base in Osan, south of Seoul, JCS officials said.
"North Korea's firing of ground-to-ship missiles at our navy ships would prompt counter-attacks simultaneously from surface, air and sea," JCS chairman Kim Tae-Young had told Lee, according to a JCS spokesman.
Defence officials in Seoul said the South had prepared K-9 self-propelled cannons, naval destroyers and F-15K aircraft armed with cruise missiles and precision bombs near the tense sea border with the North in the Yellow Sea.
Lee said Saturday the South would not make any compromises in the face of North Korea's military threats and called for Pyongyang to return to six-party nuclear disarmament talks.
"I hereby make it clear again that there won't be any compromise in issues threatening the lives of the people and national security," he said in a Memorial Day speech to honour Korean war dead.
Hours later, the North's communist party newspaper Rodong Sinmun restated that the South's decision to join a US-led drive against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was a "declaration of war."
Tensions have escalated since the North conducted its second nuclear test on May 25 and then launched a series of short-range missiles before renouncing the 1953 truce that ended hostilities in the Korean war.
Pyongyang is now reported to be readying another long-range missile test from a new base on its northwest coast and medium-range missile tests from its southeast coast.
The South's navy said Tuesday it had sent a high-speed patrol boat armed with guided missiles to the two country's disputed western border, after reports that the North's military was conducting landing exercises there.
Pyongyang wants the adjoining sea border to be drawn further south and the area has been the site of deadly naval clashes in 1999 and 2002.
More than 600,000 South Korean soldiers, backed by 28,500 US troops, have been deployed on the Korean peninsula, confronting a potential threat from the North's 1.1 million-strong military.