S.Korea boosts options in case of artillery onslaught

Seoul to counter close-range attack by N. Korea with new radar as tensions rise again on eve of key Pyongyang anniversary

S.Korea boosts options in case of artillery onslaught

World Bulletin / News Desk

South Korea announced Monday the development of a new radar to detect North Korean artillery fire, amid fears Seoul would be first in Pyongyang’s firing line if fighting breaks out on the peninsula.

While the United States weighs up a pre-emptive strike to stem the North’s long-range missile capabilities, the reclusive state is known to have artillery units ready to fire on tens of millions of South Koreans in Seoul and the capital region.

Speaking of the new 54 billion won ($48 million) radar, Col. Kim Dong-ho said in comments reported by Yonhap News Agency, that the South’s military had “laid the groundwork for destroying the origin of the enemy's provocations, if carried out, in the early stage of combat".

The system will complement additional measures by Seoul such as the ongoing deployment of an American Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery. But the South Korean radar is not set to be fully operational until 2018 despite already being passed for combat use, and tensions threaten to spill over before then.

With a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson describing the situation on the peninsula Monday as "very tense," North Korea is in line to celebrate the 85th anniversary of its military’s foundation on Tuesday.

Although Seoul’s Unification Ministry said there had been "no unusual signs in North Korea," speculation persists that Pyongyang could mark the occasion with a banned nuclear or ballistic missile test.

The South Korean government also confirmed at a separate briefing that "consultations are underway” with the U.S. over holding a joint exercise involving an American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier group expected to arrive close to the peninsula this week following drills with Japan.

North Korea’s official media warned over the weekend the carrier could be sunk "with a single strike".

Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Nisan 2017, 16:30