Military Defends Response to N.Korean Attack

      December 03, 2010 09:55

      South Korean K-9 self-propelled howitzers fired back at North Korean artillery positions on Nov. 23, when the North attacked Yeonpyeong Island, but the shells fell way short of their targets, a commercial satellite image shown by the National Intelligence Service at the National Assembly Intelligence Committee on Wednesday and Thursday shows.

      Lawmakers on the committee said some North Korean coastal artillery positions in Mudo seem to have suffered damage, but multiple rocket launcher positions in Kaemori appear intact since artillery impact points are seen only in nearby paddy and dry fields.

      The satellite image on the left shows impact points of South Korean artillery shells on North Korean barracks on Mudo and the one on the right those landing in rice paddies and fields on Kaemori, missing the North's MRL positions. /Courtesy of National Intelligence Service

      Yet the military maintains based on analysis of classified military satellite images that its artillery fire "inflicted huge damage" also to the North's MRL positions.

      "About a dozen shells landed within coastal artillery positions in Mudo," Grand National Party Rep. Kwon Yong-se, who chairs the committee, said after reviewing the satellite photos of the Mudo area.

      "The points of our military's artillery impact lie in a straight line between two North Korean military barracks, about 100 m apart, and close to another structure. Some impact points are within 50 m from barracks. We can assume that the North Korean military suffered considerable damage," he added.

      Each K-9 shell has a killing range of 50 m.

      But Democratic Party members of the committee Choi Jae-sung and Park Young-sun told reporters a different story, saying no shells hit barracks, and only three points of impact lie within a 50 m radius of barracks while the rest landed in paddy and dry fields."

      But a spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, "After analyzing military satellite images, which have much higher resolution than commercial photos, we confirmed that many of the shells landed in and around MRL positions. Claims based on commercial satellite images that shells landed only in fields or fell into the sea are far from reliable."

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