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N. Korea fires missiles from Sunan international airport

N. Korea fires missiles from Sunan international airport

Posted August. 30, 2017 08:31,   

Updated August. 30, 2017 08:52


North Korea fired a mid-range ballistic missile on Tuesday at the Sunan airfield in Pyongyang. "North Korea fired the missiles at the Sunan airfield, which is the first time for the North," the South Korean National Intelligence Service said Tuesday at an intelligence committee held at the National Assembly.

According to the National Intelligence Service, the North has chosen the airport due to mobility. Firing on open fields requires embedding the missiles on the launching pad and then removing the missiles onto the moving launch pad and this takes time. But airfields are constituted of asphalt and firing preparation time can be reduced. "It is a big event given that the firing took place at the Sunan airfield, the gateway of Pyongyang," the intelligence agency said.

Other critics say the Sunan airfield was chosen because of easy access by Pyongyang citizens. The North Korean Central News Agency said on August 10 that North Korea is considering plans to make provocations on Guam using Hwasong-12 ballistic missile. Back then, the North explained that its purpose was to encourage its people and show them how pitiful the U.S. is. Against this backdrop, the North is said to have chosen Sunan for a massive disclosure of the firing to Pyongyang citizens.

"The North's confidence on its mid-range ballistic missiles must have contributed also," University of North Korean Studies Professor Yang Moo-jin said. "The North must have chosen Sunan given that the missiles would not fall in the middle even if they were fired on land and not on waters."

Hyo-Ju Son hjson@donga.com