SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — South Korea's acting leader, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, sought to bolster the armed forces in a New Year's message aimed as much at potential North Korean provocation as the morale of southern troops.
Hwang, who is leading the country while a court decides on whether to accept the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye and remove her from office, knows that North Korea may be his biggest challenge. Last year Pyongyang staged a string of missile test-launches and two nuclear tests, and, with instability in Seoul and a new president set to take over this month in Washington, many expect more trouble from North Korea.
"Our people have firm faith in our troops as they maintain stern military readiness with strong willpower," Hwang said in a recorded message for the troops.
Hwang said Seoul will spend whatever it takes to support the armed forces.
South Korea's opposition-controlled parliament last month voted to remove Park over a corruption scandal. State prosecutors have accused her of colluding with a longtime confidante to extort money and
Park's powers will remain suspended until the
Hwang, who had a largely ceremonial job before Park's impeachment, has been running affairs as opposition politicians pledge to erase some of Park's signature policies.
Hwang has vowed to maintain unpopular agreements with Japan over the sharing of military intelligence and the compensation for South Korean women forced into sexual slavery by Japan's World War II military.
He has also dismissed calls by the opposition to reconsider a decision to deploy an advanced U.S. missile
The plans to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area
Kim Tong-Hyung, The Associated Press