S. Korea keeps close tabs on N.K. moves on Hambak Island: minister
SEOUL, Oct. 18 (Yonhap) -- Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said Friday the military has been closely monitoring military movements on North Korea's border island of Hambak and has been fully prepared for any contingencies.
Some have pointed to the island, located just above the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de facto inter-Korean maritime border, in the Yellow Sea as a source of potential threats, as the North has run several military facilities there since 2017.
"No such weapons as artillery guns or multiple rocket launchers are deployed there," Jeong told lawmakers during a parliamentary audit of military courts, adding the North operates only surveillance equipment, including a two-dimensional radar manufactured in the 1980s.
"Since their installation in 2017, the military has been fully prepared for any contingencies, including a strike plan to neutralize those facilities," he noted.
Earlier this week, Marine Corps commandant Lt. Gen. Lee Seung-do said during an audit that his service drew up "a devastation plan" onto the island back in 2017 that calls for mobilizing the 2nd Marine Division for attack operations in case of emergency.
"His usage of the word 'devastation' can be understood as the expression of the Marine Corps' strong willingness (to defend our territory) ... to alleviate security concerns," Jeong said.
Asked by an opposition lawmaker if the Navy thinks those facilities could pose threats to South Korea, its chief, Adm. Sim Seung-seob, said: "They are able to monitor our vessels south of the NLL. So they partly could pose threats."
But he noted that their main purpose appears to monitor Chinese fishing boats.
As for the strike plan, the Navy chief said it is not for any infiltration but as part of comprehensive operational schemes to defend the border regions, adding that drawing up such strategies is a basic and necessary duty of the military.
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