Plans to deploy a significant number of ballistic and cruise missiles to the border with North Korea, military officials announced Sunday.
The Hyunmoo-2A and 2B ballistic missiles and Hyunmoo-3 cruise missiles, weapons independently produced by South Korea, will be deployed in larger numbers around the country, reported the Donga Ilbo.
The Hyunmoo-2A and 2B ballistic missiles have ranges of 186 miles and 310 miles respectively, according to UPI. The Hyunmoo-3A, 3B, and 3C cruise missiles can travel up to 186 miles, 620 miles, and 930 miles respectively. While they could be effectively used against other neighboring targets, these weapons were specifically created for a conflict with North Korea.
North Korea is believed to possess around 1,000 ballistic missiles, and 70% of those missiles are said to be aimed at South Korea. North Korea’s regular nuclear and ballistic missile tests, including the test two weeks ago which resulted in a missile landing in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for the first time, have led the South Korean government to intensify its efforts to counter the ever-present threat to its security.
South Korean military officials explained that the ballistic and cruise missile deployments will take place next year. At that time, South Korea will also introduce the Hyunmoo-2C, which has a range of around 500 miles.
The introduction of a greater number of missiles into the South Korean missile defense system is part of the country’s efforts to develop a preemptive-strike defense system called Kill Chain, officials told the Donga Ilbo. The aim is to effectively neutralize North Korean missiles before they can land. This missile system could also be used to target North Korean bases.
The Kill Chain system will strengthen the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system the U.S. and South Korea plan to install in Seongju next year.
During the Liberation Day celebrations Monday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye announced that the deployment of the THAAD system is an act of “self-defense” to protect the country from an unprovoked nuclear attackk.
With her speech, Park attempted to silence domestic and international criticisms of the plans to introduce THAAD into the South Korean national defense program, reported The Diplomat. “If there is another way to protect our country and people, then an alternative must be presented,” Park said in her speech.
In response to South Korean efforts to improve its national defense capabilities and Park’s criticisms of North Korea, a spokesperson for North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country said, “This is no more than nonsense talked by a psychopath.” The spokesperson resolutely argued that South Korea’s words and deeds are intentionally designed to harm North Korea, a country where “the dreams and ideals of the people are coming true on the people-first principle,” according to KCNA.
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