In the wake of Pyongyang's fifth and biggest nuclear test Friday, the South Korean military is reportedly touting the value of so-called decapitation strikes on the North Korean leadership.

But such plans — which Seoul says are necessary in lieu of its own nuclear deterrent — have prompted concern that they could create a vicious cycle, reinforcing Pyongyang's view that its nuclear arsenal is indispensable.

Decapitation or "beheading" strikes are targeted attacks to eliminate an adversary's leader or leadership in an attempt to disrupt or destroy its chain of command as soon as a crisis breaks out or appears imminent.