N.Korea Plays Games with Missiles

      April 12, 2013 09:32

      North Korea repeatedly concealed and uncovered Musudan missiles with a range of 3,000 to 4,000 km after moving them to Wonsan, Kangwon Province as if to attract the attention of South Korea and the U.S.

      The aim seems to confuse observers about any launch plans.

      "Now you see them, now you don't," a government official in Seoul said. He added several launch platforms for Scud and Rodong missiles in South Hamgyong Province were also exposed to satellites several times. They have a range of between 300 and 1,500 km.

      Female North Korean soldiers patrol the banks of Yalu River near the North Korean town of Sinuiju opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong on Thursday. /Reuters-Newsis

      Japan's Kyodo News said it spotted a mobile missile launch platform in Wonsan put in an upright position ready for launch on a satellite picture. A Defense Ministry official here said Seoul has no such intelligence, though he did not rule out that this was part of the same deceptive tactics.

      Right before it launched a space rocket on Dec. 12 last year, the North intentionally exposed a train carrying rocket components to satellite surveillance to make it look as if there had been a serious glitch.

      Prior to the North’s third nuclear test in Punggye-ri, North Hamgyong Province in February this year, there was lively vehicle and personnel traffic at tunnels on both the western and southern sides of the test site, but the test took place on the western side.

      "The North knows when the South Korean and U.S. surveillance satellites are flying overhead," a military source in Seoul said, "so it's probably taking advantage of that." 

      After the North on March 5 said it considered the Armistice that ended the Korean War null and void, both South Korean and U.S. military authorities raised Watchcon, a five-stage surveillance alert, from 3 to 2.

      Since then, the Army, Navy, and Air Force have been operating their surveillance equipment and personnel around the clock, and an Air Force's Patriot Advanced Capability-2 unit, which is capable of intercepting incoming ballistic missiles, has been on alert all day every day.

      It is conceivable that the North is simply trying to tire them out with these antics, experts said.

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