SEOUL, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) — South Korea's defense ministry said Monday that its military would preemptively strike the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in case of an imminent nuclear attack by the DPRK.
Seoul's defense ministry spokesman Moon Sang-kyun told a press briefing that preemptive strike would be possible for self-defense in case that there are signs of the DPRK's use of nuclear weapons.
His comments were a response to rising voices in the United States claiming the need for preemptive strike against the DPRK following the country's fifth nuclear test a month ago.
On Sept. 9, the DPRK announced its successful test of a nuclear warhead that can be mounted on ballistic missiles. It came just eight months after its fourth nuclear detonation in early January.
Preemptive strike against the DPRK's nuclear facilities has long been shunned by previous South Korean governments as it can lead to an all-out war on the Korean peninsula.
However, the advances in the DPRK's nuclear and missile capabilities caused super hard-line calls from a fraction of conservative figures, with some even demanding a nuclear armament of South Korea.
An unnamed official at South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) told the press briefing that the DPRK has prepared for another nuclear test that can be conducted at any time if its leadership decides on it.
The official said South Korea's military is closely monitoring and tracking relevant situations with all possibilities left open for the DPRK's strategic provocations.
Oct. 10 marks the anniversary of the foundation of the DPRK's ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), which has been sometimes celebrated with provocations such as the launch of missiles.