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Military builds up fire power on frontline island

Posted November. 23, 2017 07:28,   

Updated November. 23, 2017 08:03


The South Korean military is stepping up its readiness posture for North Korea’s additional provocations on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the North’s artillery attack on a South Korean frontline island of Yeonpyeongdo.

The South Korean military has significantly reinforced its fire power on Yeonpyeongdo since the shelling attack, increasing the Marine Corps’ K-9 self-propelled guns from six to around 40 and deploying several units of the Chunmoo multiple rocket launchers. The locally developed launchers are capable of continuously firing 12 highly explosive rockets at targets up to 80 kilometers away. With longer ranges and more power than the older Guryong rocket launchers, the Chunmoo launchers are the core fire power capable of neutralizing North Korean long-range rocket launchers.

The South Korean military also plans to deploy the 2.75-inch Bigung guided rockets, which is also called the “killers” of North Korean hovercrafts. The Bigung can detect and destroy multiple targets on the sea up to 8 kilometers away by firing 40 guided rockets at once from two launchers mounted on a vehicle. “As (North Korean leader) Kim Jong Un has inspected raid and artillery drills on (South Korea’s) Northwestern islands several times, we are keeping a close watch on the North Korean military’s movements at all times,” a South Korean military officer said.

On November 23, 2010, the North Korean military fired some 170 artillery shells on Yeonpyeongdo, while the South Korean marines on the frontline island responded with some 80 K-9 artillery shots. Two South Korean marines were killed in action, and two civilians were killed. The Marine Corps will hold a memorial ceremony for the dead soldiers at the Daejeon National Cemetery on Thursday, with the bereaved families and soldiers attending it.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com