Go to Contents Go to Navigation

(LEAD) S. Korea readies military after N. Korea nuclear test

All Headlines 16:18 February 14, 2013

(ATTN: UPDATES defense minister's comments in 14-15 paras)
By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea carried out large-scale military drills throughout the country Thursday in a show of force in response to the recent nuclear test by North Korea who has threatened to enforce stronger measures if necessary.

Following Tuesday's atomic test, South Korea and U.S. forces have stepped up surveillance, mobilized aircraft and readied facilities to collect air samples from the test site to determine the fission materials of the atomic blast.

After intelligence and military officials in Seoul raised the possibility of additional tests by North Korea in the next couple days, several military maneuvers took place across the country.

The Navy deployed two fleets of about 10 warships each, including Aegis destroyers, submarines, patrol ships and high-speed boats, to the east and west of the Korean Peninsula to test combat readiness.

Earlier in the day, Adm. Choi Yoon-hee visited an Aegis destroyer in the East Sea to order servicemen to stay vigilant and prepare for additional provocations.

South Korea and the U.S. held a joint aerial exercise under the scenario of air-to-air combat, mobilizing fighter jets of both nations.

Artillery infantries at the front-line also carried out live-fire drills with missiles, rockets and cannons simulating a combat situation, the Army said.

Coupled with military bravado, Seoul's defense ministry disclosed a 50-second video clip of ship-to-land cruise missiles domestically developed, which are capable of targeting any region of North Korea.

"The cruise missile shown today is a precision-guided weapon that can strike a North Korean command office's window, from anywhere on the Korean Peninsula," Army Maj. Gen. Yoo Young-jo said in a briefing. "This is a weapon that can restrict enemy's command in case of war."

South Korea's rare disclosure of an indigenous weapon is seen as one of several warnings directed towards the provocative communist country. North Korea, in response to the growing threats, said it will take "second and third measures of greater intensity" if the U.S. and its allies maintain their hostility.

"We showed this video to assure the people that South Korea has the capacity to handle (such threats) because people worry about North Korea's nuclear test and missile development," Yoo said.

On the same day, Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin visited the Agency for Defense Development in Daejeon, 164 kilometers south of Seoul, for briefings on the latest ballistic missile development.

His visit to the state arms development agency came after his ministry vowed to speed up its planned deployment of ballistic missiles as well as an advanced missile interception system -- the so-called "kill chain" -- which is designed to detect, target and destroy missiles.

Kim then headed toward a missile base in the central region to order stern measures in case of any provocations.

"North Korea is a rough country with no promising prospect, so it will continue to launch provocations following a nuclear test," Kim told soldiers. "We should be prepared to deter the enemy's provocation from the beginning."

South Korea has been putting forth efforts to develop longer-range missiles after Seoul and Washington in October of last year agreed to nearly triple its missile range to 800 kilometers to better deter North Korean threats.

The U.S. stations 28,500 troops in South Korea and provides a "nuclear umbrella" for its ally, limiting Seoul's nuclear and missile capability as part of a non-proliferation campaign.


Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!