N. Korea to deploy long-range rocket launchers late this year: S. Korean defense chief

North Korea could deploy a new rocket system
as early as this year that would expand its ability to strike South Korean and American
military forces in the South. But, no need for alarm… says South Korea’s defense minister…
as Seoul and Washington had been preparing for the new threat by upgrading their surveillance
and counterattack abilities. Our national defense correspondent Kim Hyun-bin
has more on what Minister Han Min-koo was willing to share with reporters today.
South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo says that North Korea has completed testing
on its 300-millimeter multiple launch rocket system and is likely to deploy it on the border
later this year. He said, “North Korea has recently test-fired the system
several times, through which, I believe, it has nearly completed the development. Under
this assessment, I think North Korea will deploy the 300-mm MLRS as early as at the
end of this year,” North Korea said last month that leader Kim
Jong-un has observed the final test of the system,… which has a range of 200 kilometers
and could target half of South Korea when fired from the border.
South Korea’s defense ministry says the system is a cheaper alternative to ballistic missiles.
The defense minister said the new weapons system is different from previous long-range
artillery munitions, pointing to its range and destructive power,… but added that Seoul
is fully capable of defending against the threat because it has constantly upgraded
its counter artillery. The defense chief also said, “North Korea is capable of launching another
nuclear test at any given moment, as long as its leadership makes the decision.” “Experts say there is a possibility North
Korea could conduct a fifth nuclear test before its pivotal Workers’ Party congress in May,…
or to commemorate the birthday of its founding leader Kim Il-sung, who is the grandfather
of current leader Kim Jong-un, in mid April. Kim Hyun-bin, Arirang News.”

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