South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff have issued a strong response to Pyongyang's threat toward Guam and other recent threats to South Korea and the U.S.
The JCS are calling the rhetoric a serious challenge to the Korean people and the Seoul-Washington alliance, and warned that any provocations will cost Pyongyang dearly.
"If North Korea ignores our warning and carries out this provocation, it will face strong and firm punishment from our military and the South Korea-U.S. alliance."
The military said it's maintaining a state of stern readiness to counter any North Korean threats.
And with the North's nuclear and missile threats rapidly growing, South Korea aims to get its three-stage defense system done sooner -- by 2022 rather than the *mid-20's.
South Korean government plans to inject 210 billion dollars into three programs: Kill Chain, Korea and Missile Defense and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation plan.
The Kill Chain system carries out a pre-emptive strike on the North's nuclear and missile facilities when a threat is imminent, while the KMPR focuses on eliminating the North's leadership.
"We are pouring our efforts into bolstering South Korea's defense capabilities by focusing our energy on completing the three-stage defense system."
However, with North Korea's nuclear weapons development advancing more quickly than anticipated, experts say Seoul may have to fast-track its own schedule to get the defense system in place sooner.
Kim Hyun-bin, Arirang News.