North Korea taking Seoul hostage: Chinese official
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, April 7 (CNA) North Korea sees South Korea's capital as its Achilles' heel and has taken Seoul hostage by aiming considerable firepower at the city, a Chinese military official said on Sunday.
The North has also used its threat to the South's capital to kidnap the United States and Japan, said Luo Yuan, deputy secretary-general of China's Academy of Military Sciences, in a report published by the China-based Global Times.
Because Seoul is South Korea's political, economic, technological and cultural stronghold and accounts for one-fifth of the country's GDP, the city's security is the key to the balance of power on the Korean Peninsula, Luo argued.
Yet it is only 40 kilometers south of the demilitarized zone that has separated North Korea and South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953 and is therefore highly vulnerable to much of North Korea's arsenal.
With 80 percent of North Korea's military power deployed in areas less than 100 kilometers north of the demilitarized zone, including 700,000 soldiers, 8,000 cannons and 2,000 tanks, according to one study, Seoul could instantly turn into flames, Luo said, making it a virtual hostage of the North.
The Korean demilitarized zone, running along the 38th parallel, is a four-kilometer wide area straddling the border between North Korea and South Korea.
The northern and southern parts of the demilitarized zone are now controlled by North Korea and the United Nations Command, respectively.
(By Charles Kang and Nell Shen)
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