South Korea successfully fired off an Israeli precision-guided missile capable of striking North Korean coastal artillery on its Yellow Sea border islands last month, the Marine Corps said Friday, the first test-firing since their deployment on northwestern islands in May.
The satellite-guided Spike missiles, which have a range of about 20 kilometers and weigh 70 kilograms, have been forward deployed in Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong Islands to deter provocations by North Korea. They are designed to destroy North Korea's underground facilities and strike moving targets.
The missile deployment is part of Seoul's efforts to bolster its capabilities near the border after the North fired off artillery at Yeonpyeong, which lies just 11 ㎞ from North Korean shores, three years ago, killing four South Koreans.
"The missile accurately hit a sea-based target located 20 kilometers southwest of Baengnyeong Island," the Marine Corps said.
It is the first time that the missile hit a sea-based target, following its test firing in Israel in March.
The Spike missiles had been scheduled for deployment in late 2012 but a delayed test-firing pushed back the timetable by half a year.
On the eve of the third anniversary of North Korea's shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Friday held field and simulated exercises near the tensely guarded western sea border.
The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps jointly carried out the simulated command post exercise and field training under various scenarios of North Korean attacks on Yeonpyeong Island.
Earlier this year, the communist state set up 76.2 millimeter coastal guns, with a range of 12km, on the coast northwest of Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong. The North has also deployed 122-mm multiple rocket launchers, which have a 20-km range, on land. (Yonhap News)