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N. Korea thought to have 200 mobile missile launchers

North Korea could have as many as 200 mobile missile launchers, a report showed Friday, nearly double the number previously estimated by Seoul authorities.

According to the report submitted to the U.S. Congress by the Pentagon, North Korea appears to have accumulated up to 200 so-called transporter erector launchers, including up to 100 for short-range Scud missiles, 50 for medium-range Nodong missiles and 50 for long-range Musudan missiles, the state-run Korea Institute for Defense Analyses said.

South Korea's military and intelligence authorities previously estimated that the communist country appeared to possess a maximum of 94 mobile launchers.

It is the first time that South Korea or the U.S. has made public the number of North Korean TELs in an official document.

"The U.S. report shows that North Korea is bent on expanding its missile program despite its continued economic difficulties," said Kim Sung-kurl, a researcher at KIDA. "It is especially focused on certain asymmetric areas that can pose a threat to South Korea and U.S. forces stationed in the South."

It also appears that the North is strengthening its military capabilities in an attempt to tame internal dissent and preserve its regime, he said.

(Yonhap News)