September 09, 2019 09:30
North Korea's Kumchon-ni major missile base in Anbyon, Kangwon Province 165 km northeast of Seoul has all of South Korea and Japan within range, according to a U.S. report.
In a report on the website Beyond Parallel last Friday, Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha of the Center for Strategic and International Studies say the base "is one of approximately 20 undeclared ballistic missile operating bases."
They add that the Hwasong-6 short-range ballistic missile with a range of 500-600 km was deployed at the base in the early 1990s, and the Hwasong-9 medium-range ballistic missile with a reach of 1,000 km deployed there for the first time in 1999.
The Hwasong-6 can reach most of South Korea except Jeju Island, while the Hwasong-9 can fly as far as some southern parts of Japan.
"Should the missile unit based at Kumchon-ni be equipped with more recently emerging [Pukguksong-2 medium-range ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km,] the threat envelope could include all of Japan, including U.S. military bases on Okinawa, and beyond," they warn.
The base, which was "inaccurately" known as an "underground missile storage" but turned out to be a "forward missile operating base," has recently been expanded. "All these developments attest to the ongoing importance of the Kumchon-ni missile operating base to the... North Korean leadership," the authors write.
They demand that it should be "subject to declaration, verification, and dismantlement in any future final and fully verifiable denuclearization deal."
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