Recently-elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in championed a plan of discussion with Pyongyang but pivoted with the formation of the "massive punishment and retaliation" initiative that includes a more hawkish military posture toward Kim, who has relentlessly pursued a robust nuclear deterrent despite continued calls from the international community to terminate ballistic missile and nuclear weapons testing.
Moon was "the architect of the sunshine policy engagement," Chun told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear, "so it is a huge disappointment."
The sunshine policy between DPRK and South Korea — formally referred to as the Republic of Korea, or RoK — relied on three principles meant to relax tensions on the Korean peninsula. The policy stated that violent provocation by DPRK wouldn’t be tolerated, RoK would not try to annex DPRK, and RoK would make a clear effort to promote cooperation. RoK President Kim Dae-jung won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 for his efforts in implementing the sunshine policy.
Nevertheless, Chun said the formation of Spartan 3000 isn’t "totally unexpected" since "South Korea is a subordinate partner to US foreign policy especially in North East Asia … I still have to mention that many Koreans, even the high ranking foreign policy advisers, are shocked by … the move toward hardline rhetoric, so we really need to be careful about that."
The assassination team was created to "make Kim Jong-un fear for his life," retired three star South Korean general Shin Won-sik said this week. Since Seoul doesn’t have a nuclear arsenal and doesn’t plan on pursuing one, the special forces brigade is "the best deterrence we can have next to having our own nukes."
It’s not entirely clear whether the Spartan 3000 team is intended to solely inflict psychological damage on Kim and his generals or to actually wipe out DPRK’s senior leadership. On July 4, US forces had an "very easy shot" to kill Kim while he strolled around a missile launch platform for more than an hour smoking cigarettes but decided against taking him out.