South Korea vowed on Friday to bomb North Korea should it try to repeat last week's bombardment of an island near their disputed border.
Kim Kwan-jin, a retired general was speaking at a parliamentary meeting, confirming him as the South's new defence minister, following a US warning of an "immediate threat" from Pyongyang.
"If there is any further provocation, we will definitely use aircraft to bomb North Korea," Kim said as quoted in Reuters.
"In case the enemy attacks our territory and people again, we will retaliate to ensure that the enemy cannot provoke again," Kim said. The hearing is just a formality since South Korea's National Assembly does not have the power to reject the president's appointment of Kim.
China has pressed for talks but according to the South Korean's Yonhap news agency it claimed that its efforts to abate tensions in the Korean Peninsula have been unfairly dismissed.
The new defence minister said North Korea would have difficulty conducting a full-scale war because of its weak economy and concerns over the transfer of power away from Kim Jong-Il.
President Lee Myung-bak's government had been criticised for the lack of a strong response to North Korea's attack. The latter maintained that the incident was instigated by the South.