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N. Korea targets S. Korea to avoid THAAD interception

Posted August. 28, 2017 08:10,   

Updated August. 28, 2017 08:39

North Korea is reportedly focusing on enhancing the low altitude striking power of its ballistic missiles and rocket launchers to avoid interception by the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system deployed in Seongju in North Gyeongsang Province.

According to military intelligence on Sunday, North Korea is considering a scenario that simultaneously strike major ports and airports in South Korea with its nuclear weapons and missiles, by penetrating the THAAD artillery unit and defense net in emergency situations. "Pyongyang is currently concentrating their efforts in developing technologies and tactics, which can destroy core targets located in South Korea by lowering the projectile altitudes below 40 kilometers, the minimum intercepting altitude for THAAD," experts said.

"North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will highly likely order its army to incapacitate South Korean intercepting defense network as soon as the war breaks," a military official also said. "The recent short-range launches should be considered as a 'customized provocation,' as it was aimed to target THAAD."

Kim Jong Un heightened his intimidation to South Korea when he appeared at the striking drills targeted to the Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong Islands on the Day of Songun (Aug. 25), just one day before North Korea provoked the international community by launching its short-range missiles. The disclosure of its plans to conquer northwest islands came as the first since shelling the Yeonpyeong Island in 2010.

A National Security Council (NSC) standing committee was held under the Presidential order right after North Korea launched its short-range missile provocations on Saturday. Still, some argue that the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, which stressed a dialogue-based approach to the North, has underestimated the recent provocation as a "regular training process." "(North Korea also) may consider as a regular response drill in the face of Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) exercise," a high-ranking Cheong Wa Dae official said. "It is certain that the recent provocation is irrelevant to strategic provocation."

However, some criticized the lack of information sharing between the KOR-US alliance on the real aspect of the projectile. "At the current time, we presume the launched missiles from North Korea are 300mm rockets. Meanwhile, the U.S. Pacific Command stated that two successfully launched among three North Korean projectiles were short-range ballistic missiles.