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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

N Korea threatens to strike S Korea warships near sea border

21 May 2014, 18:16 -- North Korea threatened Wednesday to launch an attack on South Korean warships without warning if there was even a 'trifling' provocation near their disputed Yellow Sea border. A South Korean naval ship fired warning shots Tuesday after three North Korean patrol boats crossed the sea boundary. On Wednesday the North's military accused South Korea of 'an intentional grave provocation' at a time when North Korean vessels had been chasing Chinese boats fishing illegally in the area.

In future South Korean naval vessels near the border would be the target of 'precision' strikes without warning if they were involved in 'any trifling provocations', it said in a statement on the official KCNA news agency.

'We are willing to go for a showdown right now if the puppet rogue is desperate to stand face-to-face with us,' it said, AFP reports.

It is not uncommon for North Korean patrol boats and fishing boats to cross the sea border into the South.

Two North Korean patrol boats violated the sea border last month, just before US President Barack Obama arrived in Seoul for a two-day visit.

The North does not recognize the Yellow Sea border, the scene of brief but bloody naval clashes in 1999, 2002 and 2009.

In March the North fired hundreds of shells in a live exercise near the sea boundary. About 100 shells dropped into South Korean territorial waters, and the South responded with volleys of shells into North Korean waters.

South Korean ships sent warning gunshot as North Korean boats violate sea border

Naval patrollers from South Korean sent some warning gunshots across the water at North Korean military vessels that dared to cross the maritime border.

'Two patrol boats and one government ship from North Korea crossed the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea … in succession,' Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement reported by NBC.

The North Korean boats, which normally serve to keep fishing boats on the right side of the boundary, crossed into South Korean waters at 0700 GMT, the South's joint chiefs of staff said.

The incursion prompted a South Korean naval ship to fire 10 warning rounds, after which the North Korean vessels retreated to the North side of the border, it said.

N Korea builds new complex for possible ICBM launch - US think-tank

North Korea is building a new complex at its main rocket launch site, possibly for training and launches of road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles, a US think-tank said.

Satellite imagery from May 10 suggests the North is conducting a number of important construction projects at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station on its western coast, the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said Tuesday.

'One working hypothesis is that the North is building a new complex to conduct future training and launches for mobile missiles such as the KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)', it said on its website, 38 North.

'Moreover, that hypothesis is consistent with ongoing KN-08 engine tests being conducted (at) Sohae's rocket engine test stand, where a probable KN-08 first stage is currently seen on the stand, possibly left there after early April 2014 tests or for use in the future'.

Three KN-08 rocket engine test series have been identified for the first and possibly second stages dating back to mid-2013, the institute said early this month, adding the next technically logical step would be a flight test of the entire system.

North Korea successfully put a satellite into orbit in December 2012 on a rocket -- the Unha 3 -- that Pyongyang said was designed for purely scientific missions.

The international community said the launch was a disguised ballistic missile test and the UN Security Council tightened existing sanctions as a result.

The May 10 imagery also indicates that Pyongyang's effort to upgrade the existing Sohae launch pad to handle space launch vehicles larger than the Unha-3 is continuing but work has slowed, possibly due to the greater priority placed on these new construction projects.

'As a result, North Korea will be unable to conduct SLV (space launch vehicle) tests from this site until at least mid to late summer 2014 when work should be completed', it said.

The successful 2012 satellite launch caused serious concern, but experts stressed that it lacked the re-entry technology needed to bring an ICBM down onto a target.

Full-scale models of the road-mobile KN-08 missile were given pride of place in North Korean military parades in 2012 and in July last year.

But several experts ridiculed the models, with at least one respected aerospace engineer labelling them technically preposterous and a 'big hoax'.

The North is developing a working ICBM as a national priority and a successful test of such a missile would take the nuclear threat posed by Pyongyang to an entirely new level.

The institute said last week that despite fears to the contrary, satellite imagery suggests North Korea is not preparing an imminent nuclear test.

Imagery dated May 9 does show high levels of activity at the Punggye-ri test site, but most of it seems to be of a mundane, routine nature that would not be consistent with an impending test, it said last week.

Source: to-strike-S-Korea-warships-near-sea-border-1321/

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