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S. Korea revises assessment on the North’s projectiles in 2 days

S. Korea revises assessment on the North’s projectiles in 2 days

Posted August. 29, 2017 07:08,   

Updated August. 29, 2017 07:46


South Korea’s military authorities announced Monday that the projectiles that Pyongyang fired into the Ease Sea on Saturday are likely to be short-range ballistic missiles. The revision of assessment came merely two days after the presidential office presumed the missiles were from an advanced 300mm multiple launch rocket system. Critics raise the concern that the rash judgment of the presidential office on the substance and meaning of North Korea’s provocation has caused such confusion.

A military official said that the military made an interim-assessment that the short-ranged projectiles launched by the North are short-ranged ballistic missiles based on the analysis from the intelligence agencies of South Korea and the U.S. The initial data such as the maximum altitude at about 50 kilometers, the firing angle, and travel distance at about 250 kilometers, led to a provisional assessment pointing to the 300mm multiple launch rocket system, but the joint assessments from the South and the U.S. offered a revised conclusion that the projectiles were indeed short-range ballistic missiles.

Another milk official said that the presidential office rendered the judgment (that it was a 300mm MLRS) based on the initial data identified by the South Korean military assets, and that it reached an interim conclusion by collecting the analysis from reconnaissance assets of the U.S., such as satellites.

The military authorities said that the projectiles presumed to be short-range missiles had been fired at a different angle this time but withheld details, citing concern of a potential leak of intelligence on its reconnaissance capabilities. The military opted not to disclose the velocity of the projectiles for the same reason. The projectiles are known to have traveled at a speed twice of Mach 4 to 5 as fast as that from a 300mm MLRS of Mach 2 to 3.

The military said that the velocity was the main reason for the revision of the assessment, analyzing that the North seems to have tested the low-altitude striking ability of a ballistic missile by firing it at the lowest angle possible in order to avoid interception by the THAAD system installed in Seongju, Northern Gyeongsang Province.

The military further explained that it would take several weeks to clarify the specific model of the missile from the North to reach a final conclusion.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com