Baeknyeong Island Naval Base to Be Ready This Year

A naval base on Baeknyeong Island will be completed by the end of this year to accommodate new guided-missile patrol vessels of more than 500 tons, military sources said Friday.

The island, which sits perilously close to the North Korean coast, is so far incapable of harboring even smaller 150-ton patrol boats. The new base, 10 km off the Northern Limit Line, the de-facto maritime border, will allow the Navy to respond more effectively to North Korean provocations there.

The base will be built at Yonggipo on the southern tip of the island with a budget of W42.5 billion (US$1=W1,018). It will also function as a civilian harbor. An auxiliary facility will be able to house about 100 troops.

A military source said deploying a missile patrol killer at the Baeknyeong base would allow the South to respond swiftly to the regular violations of the NLL by North Korean patrol boats.

The missile patrol killer will be armed with home-grown anti-ship missiles with a range of 150 km and 76 mm and 40 mm guns.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 16, 2014 13:00 KST