December 02, 2010 09:29
The National Intelligence Service intercepted hints that North Korea was planning to shell Yeonpyeong Island, three months before the arrack, it emerged on Wednesday.
Members of the National Assembly Intelligence Committee quoted NIS Director Won Sei-hoon as saying the agency knew from wiretapping that the North Korean regime ordered the military to prepare to attack the five islands in the West Sea. He said the NIS submitted the intelligence report to President Lee Myung-bak.
Committee members said since the North is constantly making such threats, the government apparently failed to take it seriously.
Asked what the military and the government did, Won said it was difficult to intercept further North Korean military communication before and on the day of attack because the North used landlines rather than wireless communication to carry out operations. Any damage the North suffered in the South's counterstrike is difficult to assess for the same reason, he added.
"There are obvious signs of further provocations by the North, which is seeking to undermine the South's national unity," he was quoted as saying.
Based on analysis of U.S. satellite images, he said it is now clear where 45 of 80 artillery shells the South fired struck in the North -- 30 in Kaemori and 15 in Mudo.
He separately showed a domestic commercial satellite photo of the impact points of 14 South Korean artillery shells that landed in the North.
Committee members reportedly reacted angrily since they show impact points scattered mainly in paddy and dry fields.
Won said the North's aim is to invalidate the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border, and turn the five islands in the West Sea into a disputed area. "The regime committed the atrocity because it badly needs a distraction as people are apparently restless due to the hereditary third-generation power succession and the dire economic situation."
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