North Korea Leadership Watch

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KPA Warns ROK Naval Drill of “Physical Counter-attack”

The DPRK reportedly deployed long-range, SA-5 anti-aircraft missiles to the DMZ around the time of the Cheonan's sinking in March, 2010 (Chosun Ilbo)

The Korean People’s Army’s western command issued a tactical “notice”, in response to planned anti-submarine drills in the Yellow Sea by the ROK military which will begin tomorrow (5 August) and last for five (5) days.  The KPA western command said it “adopted a determined decision to on suppressing the reckless naval firing rackets of the gang of traitors with a mighty physical counter strike…it is the unchanging and firm resolve of our people and military to control fire with fire.”

JoongAng Ilbo reports:

Despite North Korea’s threat of “powerful physical retaliation,” South Korea said yesterday it will go ahead with a planned drill in the dangerous waters west of the peninsula.

Starting tomorrow, South Korea will hold anti-submarine drills for five days in the Yellow Sea. The exercise was planned as an armed demonstration to Pyongyang to protest North Korea’s deadly torpedo attack on the South Korean warship Cheonan in March near the western inter-Korean border. The South’s Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force will have a joint exercise in various locations in the Yellow Sea and will include a series of firing drills.

The communist country’s military yesterday made clear its opposition to the drills, particularly the exercise planned to take place off the five islands near the inter-Korean border. “We will return fire for fire,” the North said in a statement, according to the North’s Korean Central News Agency.

Once again, the North challenged the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border between the two Koreas in the Yellow Sea, insisting that the South is planning drills in its territorial waters and calling the exercise an overt military intrusion.

Dong-a Ilbo reports:

To this, the South Korean military said, “The drill is a defensive exercise being conducted within our sovereign waters,” adding, “We will conduct the exercise in the Yellow Sea as scheduled.”

To run Thursday through Monday, the joint drill will have the South Korean Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines take part. More than 20 warships including a 4,500-ton Korean destroyer (KDX-Ⅱ), anti-submarine helicopters, P3-C maritime surveillance patrol aircraft, and fighters such as the F-15K and KF-16 will be deployed.

Exercises to prevent abrupt landing through water and land by special enemy units will also be carried out, as well as naval firing by warships and from underwater.

Meanwhile, Chosun Ilbo reports that the DPRK deployed SA-5 anti-aircraft missiles to the DMZ, around the time the Cheonan sank in March of this year.

North Korea deployed long-range anti-aircraft missiles with a range of 250 km near the demilitarized zone around the time of it sank the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan in March, making it more dangerous for South Korean fighter jets to fly routine patrol missions or carry out emergency flights.

A military source on Monday said the North moved some SA-5 missiles from Hwanghae Province to areas near the DMZ. “Our fighter jets’ activity is therefore somewhat restricted. For example, our fighters have to avoid SA-5 tracer radar detection for fear of an attack when it is activated.”

The SA-5 has the longest range of anti-aircraft missiles deployed warfare-ready in the world. It can hit South Korean fighters in flight over some areas in Gyeonggi and Chungcheong provinces, as well as over the frontline area and the Seoul metropolitan region.

The move seems to be aimed at preventing South Korean fighters from launching precision strikes on strategic targets in the North in an emergency, the source added.

If the SA-5 radar is activated, South Korean fighter jets will have to fly at an altitude of less than 3,000 m to avoid radar detection.

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