Did Seoul Misidentify N.Korea's Latest Missile Launch Site?

      January 19, 2022 09:48

      The South Korean military failed to pinpoint the exact location of the launch site of ballistic missiles North Korea fired last week.

      On Jan. 14, the Joint Chiefs of Staff here said that the North launched two short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea from "around Uiju," North Pyongan Province. But the Korea Defense and Security Forum on Tuesday said they were actually fired from Pihyon, about 20 km south of Uiju.

      Determining the precise location of the launch site is the first step in the "kill-chain" defense to launch a preemptive strike on missile facilities in case there are signs of provocation. Unless the exact location is determined, the defense system is doomed.

      "The North fired the missiles from behind a tunnel after carrying them on a train to dodge detection by South Korea and the U.S.," said Shin Jong-woo at the forum. "It must have been very difficult for the South Korean military to detect them in advance."

      A missile is being fired in Pyongyang on Monday, in this grab from [North] Korean Central Television the following day.

      In March last year, the JCS also failed to detect the North's launch of a missile with a range of 150 km. But this time, it failed to determine even the location of the site where they were launched.

      But the JCS denied blundering. "We simply said 'around Uiju,' because it is better known to South Korean people than Pihyon," a spokesman claimed.

      Meanwhile, the projectiles the North launched from Pyongyang on Monday were a version of the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missile known as KN24.

      North Korean state media said the launch aimed to "selectively evaluate tactical guided missile to check their accuracy," which suggests that it was a quality test of a missile selected randomly from many and that the regime has already deployed.

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