Around 70 percent of the some 1,000 North Korean missiles are designed to strike South Korean targets, a missile expert said Monday, underscoring the communist state’s increasing asymmetric military threats.
“Since the late 1990s, North Korea has produced some 100 missiles of various types each year, and I think the North should have more production capacity by now,” he told reporters on condition of anonymity.
Seoul presumes that the North has deployed some 1,000 missiles including intermediate-range ballistic missiles. They include some 700 Scud-B/C missiles with ranges of 300-500 km and some 300 Rodong missiles with a range of around 1,300 km.
The expert also said the North appeared to have produced a small number of Scud-ER missiles with a range of 700 km. The missile is an upgraded version of the Scud-D missile.
The experts particularly pointed out that Pyongyang had deployed its intermediate-range missiles without testing them, stressing that it might have missile development cooperation with foreign countries such as Iran.
“The North tested the Scud and Rodong missiles six times and once each, but did not test-launch the Musudan missile,” he said.
“It is presumed that the North might have gained some empirical data from overseas about the warfare experiences in the Iran-Iraq war, or test materials from Iran and Pakistan.”
The North has deployed the ballistic Musudan missile with a range of 3,000-4,000 km since 2007. The Musudan, in theory, brings Guam, a key U.S. strategic base in the Asia-Pacific region, within its range.
In order to neutralize Pyongyang’s missile threats, Seoul seeks to build the “Kill Chain,” a preemptive strike system.
The “Kill Chain” system is at the center of Seoul’s preemptive strike theory. Mobilizing all intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance assets of the South Korea-U.S. combined forces, the system aims to launch strikes within some 30 minutes of imminent nuclear or missile provocations being detected.
Seoul initially planned to construct the system by 2015 to target the North’s key missile bases and nuclear facilities including those in its main Yongbyon complex. It consists of four implementation stages ― detection, assessment, decision and strike.
By Song Sang-ho (firstname.lastname@example.org