Deployed indigenous missiles can cover all targets in North Korea
The South Korean military on Thursday unveiled two indigenous strategic missiles in a show of force against North Korea, which has increased its military threats through its ongoing pursuit of long-range missiles and nuclear weapons.
In a 40-second video clip, it showed the successful flight and intercepting performance of a cruise missile and a ballistic missile, but did not elaborate on their names and technical specifications, citing security policies.
The video presentation came after the communist state’s botched rocket launch last Friday and its display of a new intercontinental ballistic missile last Sunday during a ceremony marking the centennial of the birth of its national founder Kim Il-sung.
“Now, our military has indigenously developed and deployed a cruise missile with the world’s top precision and striking capabilities that is capable of hitting all areas of North Korea in promptly,” Major Gen. Shin Won-sik, the Defense Ministry’s policy planning director general, said during a press conference.
“With the missile capabilities, our military will maintain the robust preparedness and sternly retaliate should the North launch another reckless provocation.”
The Defense Ministry unveils two indigenous strategic missiles, ballistic (left photo) and cruise, through a video clip at its main building in seoul on Thursday. (MND)
The military has completed all filed tests of the two missiles successfully, Shin stressed.
“We unveiled the clip and revealed the fact that we have deployed them because we want to show our strong resolve not to be swayed by North Korea’s missile threats and other provocative schemes,” he said.
Highlighting its precision attack capability, Shin explained that the cruise missile can hit a window hundreds of kilometers away, and that it can cover all areas in the North with the capability to “hit the right target at the right time with the desired level of lethality.”
South Korea’s military is said to have deployed two Hyunmoo-series cruise missiles ― Hyunmoo-3A with a range of 500 kilometers and Hyunmoo-3B with a range of 1,000 km. It has also been developing Hyunmoo-3C missile with a range of some 1,500 km.
Observers say that the cruise missile appears to have a range of more than 1,000 km to bring all core targets in the North in striking range.
The video clip also showed that the ballistic missile with a range of 300 kilometers accurately hit a ground target. Shin explained that it is capable of devastating an area tens of times larger than a soccer field.
“The ballistic missile is fired from a mobile vehicle. It is stronger than the U.S.-made ATACMS guided missiles” he said.
The ATACMS missile with a range of 300 kilometers is capable of destroying an area about four times larger than a soccer field.
President Lee Myung-bak also watched the clip as he visited the state-run Agency for Defense Development for policy briefing earlier in the day. Observers said that his visit to the agency sends a warning message to the North, which has hinted in recent weeks at the possibility of a third nuclear test.
“Korea is the only divided country in the world and faces the most bellicose force. Whatever North Korea says, our people believe that we surpass them in various aspects,” Lee told ADD officials.
“When we have strength, we can deter the enemy’s provocations. Then, (North Korea) can not behave thoughtlessly (towards the South).”
The North has continuously hardened its bellicose rhetoric. Its military’s supreme command issued a statement on Wednesday, threatening to “blow away everything in Seoul.”
The statement was in response to South Korea’s conservative group’s recent performance in which it satirized Pyongyang’s hereditary power succession and the recent rocket launch.
Pyongyang’s unveiling on Sunday of its new ICMB also led to more calls for revising the bilateral missile pact between South Korea and the U.S. The allies are currently discussing the revision.
Under a 2001 revision to the initial agreement, signed in 1979, Seoul is banned from developing ballistic missiles with a range of more than 300 kilometers. It also stipulates that a payload must weigh no more than 500 kilograms, apparently to prevent the development of nuclear warheads.
With the ballistic missile ban, Seoul has instead focused on cruise missiles such as Hyunmoo-3C missiles with a range of 1,500 km. But cruise missiles are less powerful than ballistic ones and easily intercepted due to their slow speed.
Experts believe that the new North Korean ICBM appears to have a similar or longer range than its Taepodong-2 missile ― presumed to have a range of more than 6,700 kilometers, long enough to hit parts of Alaska, but still short of reaching the U.S. mainland.
By Song Sang-ho (firstname.lastname@example.org