Lt. Gen. Jun Jin-goo called on his unit to be ready at all times for an offensive from Kim Jong-un’s forces – and to be prepared to lay down their lives securing the border.
He said: “The Marine Corps has protected places most difficult to defend, but this should be done at all costs.”
But the incoming military chief has raised concerns over access to key equipment – including the force’s limited number of amphibious landing vehicles.
South Korean troops were told to be 'merciless' in their response to aggression
Forbidden photographs depict the true North Korean army
Wed, April 12, 2017
While tourists are able to visit North Korea as part of a controlled tour group, they are asked by their handlers to never take photographs of soldiers. These pictures taken by photographer Eric Lafforgue show the reality of military service in the secretive state
ERIC LAFFORGUE/EXCLUSIVEPIX MEDI
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Soldiers enjoy a ride at the funfair in Pyongyang
Lt. Gen. Lee added: "I think the adequate supply of such platforms is more important than the number of marines for effective combat operations.
"Certainly, our marines are short of independently possessed equipment that can be mobilised promptly in case of contingency situations."
It comes as China and the US ramp up their military presence around North Korea amid fears a showdown with Pyongyang is imminent.
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All North Korean men are forced to join the army for a minimum of ten years
Lt. Gen. Lee raised concerns over access to amphibious landing vehicles
China scrambled another 25,000 troops along the North Korean border, while all five Chinese military regions were ordered by Beijing to maintain readiness for the possibility of conflict.
Xi Jinping's armoured and mechanised infantry brigades in the Shandong, Zhejiang and Yunnan provinces have been given the go-ahead.
And the US is ready to launch a preemptive strike against North Korea if they fear a nuclear weapons test is imminent, according to senior US intelligence officials.
Satellite images show Kim Jong-un escalating nuclear action
Wed, April 12, 2017
New satellite images show in great detail how Kim Jong-un is escalating North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.
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Figure 1. Activity continues at the North Portal
Kim jong-Un is steadily becoming surrounded by international troops
Donald Trump has deployed two destroyer vessels close to the Korean peninsula, with each capable of shooting Tomahawk cruise missiles – the same weaponry used to strike an airbase in Syria last week.
Heavy bombers are also positioned in Guam, a small island in the Western Pacific, while the USS Carl Vinson strike group has already been diverted to the area as the world braces for another North Korean nuclear launch.