South Korea has taken the unusual step of publicly speaking about plans to assassinate Kim Jong Un and other North Korean leaders in the event of conflict. After North Korea's latest nuclear test, South Korean Defense Minister Song Young Moo told lawmakers that he was speeding up the creation of a "decapitation unit" capable of crossing the border for nighttime missions against North Korean facilities and its "wartime command," the New York Times reports. Officials say the special forces unit, which will apparently be comprised of members of the "Spartan 3000" unit, will be capable of striking anywhere in the Korean Peninsula within 24 hours. Song has said he wants to have the unit ready by the end of the year.
The creation of the unit is part of South Korea's "Massive Punishment and Retaliation" plan for possible war with the North, Vox reports. Analysts say that by disclosing facts about the "decapitation unit," Seoul appears to want to make Pyongyang nervous enough to think twice about its nuclear program and return to the negotiating table. "The best deterrence we can have, next to having our own nukes, is to make Kim Jong Un fear for his life," says retired Gen. Shin Won Sik, formerly the South Korean military's chief strategist. President Trump, meanwhile, said Tuesday that tough new sanctions are "no big deal" compared to "what ultimately will have to happen" to North Korea, CNN reports. (Read more North Korea stories.)