Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo on Saturday ordered the military to fight back "resolutely and confidently" against any North Korean provocation, the ministry said.
Song made the remark during his visit to Yeonpyeong Island, a Yellow Sea island close to the inter-Korean border. The minister visited military units and paid his respects at monuments in memory of South Korean soldiers killed in the 2002 inter-Korean naval skirmish near the island, and victims of North Korea's shelling of the island in 2010.
"The defense of northwestern islands and the Northern Limit Line is the core of national security," Song was quoted by the ministry as saying, referring to the de facto maritime border.
"In case there's a provocation from the enemy, (the military) has to fight back resolutely based on an offensive operational strategy and completely destroy the enemy for a victory," he said.
Song stressed that South Korea is absolutely superior to North Korea in terms of weapons systems and mental power, urging soldiers to fight confidently with trust in their absolute combined military power.
Earlier on Friday, Song called on the military to heighten readiness to counter North Korea's deceptive surprise provocations during a video conference with major military commanders.
Tensions have been rising amid exchanges of bellicose rhetoric between North Korea and the United States following the repressive country's tests of two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July. (Yonhap)