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N. Korea believed to have 200,000 special warfare troops: S. Korean estimate

All Headlines 14:07 October 10, 2010

SEOUL, Oct. 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is believed to have about 200,000 special warfare troops, an 11 percent increase from two years earlier, according to a South Korean government estimate released Sunday.

The North is also believed to have some 1,000 ballistic missiles, about 2,500-5,000 tons of chemical weapons agents, about 700 pieces of long-range artillery and about 600-700 computer hacking specialists, according to a defense ministry report submitted to Rep. Kim Ock-lee of the ruling Grand National Party.

South Korea had estimated the size of the North's special warfare troops at 120,000 in the 2006 defense "white paper" report and 180,000 in the 2008 report.

The North's bolstering of its special warfare capabilities means that the country intends to send such troops deep into South Korea to conduct a variety of attacks in case of conflicts, a defense ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

South Korea also estimates that the North has about 700 Scud B and C missiles with ranges between 300-500 kilometers and about 200 Rodong missiles with a range of about 1,300 kilometers, according to the ministry report released by the lawmaker.

In addition, the North is believed to have deployed a longer-range intermediate ballistic missile that can fly as far as 3,000 kilometers, the report said.

It also said that the North is believed to have about 600-700 computer hacking experts for cyber attacks on South Korea.

"Unless we beef up capabilities to counter these asymmetrical capabilities of North Korea, they will pose serious threats to us," the lawmaker said.
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