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NK Steps Up Military Activities Near West Coast

Posted June. 02, 2009 07:36,   


North Korean forces stationed near the western coast have reportedly increased the volume of ammunition and are conducting naval drills, a source from the South Korean government said yesterday.

“We’ve heard that North Korea’s military leadership has ordered its coast guard and artillery battalions in charge of protecting the Yellow Sea to double their shells and cannonballs,” the source said. “North Korea has even trained its naval forces to prepare for landing operations.”

A Seoul military source said the North’s recent drills in landing operations implies a possible landing on Baekryeong and Yeonpyeong islands. Pyongyang has a firing range on Cho Island.

The North also reportedly announced that its vessels should not pass through certain areas of the Yellow Sea by the end of next month.

A South Korean military officer said, “Pyongyang might prevent its vessels from passing through certain areas of the Yellow Sea due to normal military training. But the North’s recent announcement can also be interpreted as a preliminary step to more provocative moves.”

The South Korean military and intelligence have closely watched North Korean forces to prepare for provocations.

South Korean warships have been deployed to five islands near the Yellow Sea, while a 1,000-ton patrol boat was sent to Soyeonpyeong Island.

A Defense Ministry officer in Seoul said, “We usually use speed boats to patrol waters near expected battle lines. If tension rises, we will replace speed boats with patrol boats, patrol corvettes and destroyers. As military tension has recently heightened near the Northern Limit Line, we have moved our ships northward.”