S. Korean Defense Minister on N. Korea: ‘Confront Them with a Club and Defeat Them’

By Patrick Burke | November 26, 2012 | 9:56 AM EST

The aftermath of the Nov. 23, 2010 North Korean attack on the disputed Yeonpyeong island in the Yellow Sea. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin has promised to retaliate against any provocation from North Korea around the time of South Korea’s elections, saying South Korea will “confront them with a club and defeat them.”

“The North could commit provocative acts to stir up fear of war among South Koreans before the election, and after the election it could launch a provocation to test and subdue the new government,” Kim said on Thursday, as reported by the Korean news agency Chosun Ilbo.

“When gangsters threaten our lives and attempt to rob us of our property, we shouldn't hand over our money but confront them with a club and defeat them," he said. "If the North should provoke, that's how we'll respond.”

Friday was the second anniversary of the North Korean attack on Yeonpyeong, an island in the Yellow Sea that both sides claim as theirs.

The tiny enclave of fishing communities and military bases is within sight of North Korean shores. On Nov. 23, 2010, North Korean forces shelled Yeonpyeong, killing two South Korean soldiers and two civilians.

Last week, North Korea reportedly threatened to attack Yeonpyeong again, given South Korea’s provocative claim that it won the 2010 artillery exchange, the Associated Press reported.

On Sunday, the presidential nominees from South Korea’s two main political parties—the Democratic United Party and the New Frontier Party-- registered for the election to be held on December 19.

The current president, Lee Myung-bak, is at the end of his five-year term and term limits prevent him from running again.