Go to contents

`NK Raised Missile Accuracy via Latest Launches`

Posted July. 06, 2009 10:27,   


Five of the seven mid-range Rodong and Scud missiles fired by North Korea in the East Sea Saturday, U.S. Independence Day, hit their exact target area in waters 420 kilometers from the launch site. The missiles were fired at Kitdaeryong Missile Base near Wonsan.

The North thus demonstrated its improved capability for a precision missile attack on South Korea in the event of war through continuous efforts to improve accuracy.

A senior South Korean military officer said yesterday, “North Korea has demonstrated that it can cause direct and serious damage on major government facilities in the South, including military command centers and runways, by using conventional warheads.”

“The threat from the latest firings is far more serious than the firing of conventional earth-to-ship and earth-to-air missiles.”

The Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said the North fired toward the East Sea two missiles at 8 a.m. Saturday, followed by a third at 10:45 a.m., fourth at noon, fifth at 2:50 p.m., sixth at 4:10 p.m., and a seventh at 5:40 p.m. With a maximum range of 400 to 500 kilometers, the missiles fell into an area of the East Sea for which the North had issued a navigation ban.

A Seoul military source said, “Of the seven missiles, the two fired at 4:10 p.m. and 5:40 p.m. are believed to have been Rodong types considering their far higher velocity, while the remaining five seemed to be Scuds. Rodong types have an estimated range of up to 1,300 kilometers, but the range can be shortened by raising the firing altitude.”

The source said North Korea withdrew all equipment and personnel from its Kitdaeryong base following the launch of the seventh missile, and lifted the navigation ban in the East Sea.

Seoul military intelligence said it will take several days before the exact type and performance of the fired missiles are identified.

A military source said, “No signs have been monitored for the firing of long-range missiles just yet at the Tongchang-ri base in Cholsan County, North Pyongan Province, and the Musudan-ri base in Hwatae County, North Hamkyong Province, to which inter-continental ballistic missiles were moved in late May.

In 2006, North Korea also fired seven missiles on U.S. Independence Day. It launched one long-range missile at Musudan-ri and six mid- or short-range missiles, including Rodong and Scud, from Kitdaeryong.

ysh1005@donga.com esprit@donga.com