South Korea has placed Israeli precision-guided missiles capable of striking North Korean coastal artillery on its Yellow Sea border islands, a military official said Sunday.
"Dozens of Spike missiles and their launchers have recently been deployed on Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong islands," an official for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. "They can destroy (North Korea's) underground facilities and can pursue and strike moving targets."
The satellite-guided Spike missile has a range of about 20 kilometers and weighs 70 kilograms, according to military officials. Yeonpyeong lies just 11㎞ from North Korean shores.
Officials also said North Korea has set up 76.2-millimeter coastal guns, each with a range of 12㎞, on the coast northwest of Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong. The North has also deployed 122-mm multiple rocket launchers, which have a 20-㎞ range, on land.
According to officials, Spike missiles had been scheduled to be deployed in late 2012 but delayed test-firing pushed back the timetable by half a year.
North Korea on Saturday launched three short-range missiles into the sea off the Korean Peninsula's east coast. The latest firing came about two weeks after Pyongyang withdrew two Musudan intermediate-range missiles it had deployed on its east coast in early April, along with medium-range Rodong missiles. They were deployed in an apparent protest of joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises.
The North has yet to comment on Saturday's launches. South Korean experts and officials said the North may have been carrying out a military exercise, while others speculated that Pyongyang appears to be trying to escalate tensions in the region and draw attention from the United States and the international community. (Yonhap News)