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Monday, July 17, 2006

South Korea To Develop Missile Defense Command

Mon, 17 Jul 2006, 00:36

Seoul: South Korea's army will develop a new military command centre later this year to combat missile and artillery threats from North Korea, Yonhap news agency said Sunday. "In line with a military overhaul plan, the command will be established between September and October," an unnamed government source told Yonhap.

"It will be based in the central part of the country and is expected to boost South Korea's anti-artillery capabilities sharply."

The new command centre will have all of the army's artillery and missiles, which are now run by individual military units, under its control.

The two Koreas have been technically at war since the 1950-1953 bloody conflict which ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

Racing for military buildup, South Korea lags far behind North Korea in missile and artillery capability, according to Seoul's defense ministry.

The North has 13,500 field artillery pieces, including ones that are capable of reaching Seoul, while the South has 5,300 field artillery pieces, according to the ministry.

North Korea is said to have some 400 short-range Scud and 450 medium-range Rodong missiles, both capable of reaching South Korean soil, according to defense experts here.

North Korea test-fired seven ballistic missiles, including a long-range Daepodong missile, on July 5, sending alarm bells to its neighbors and sparking condemnation from the United Nation.

A UN Security Council resolution passed on Saturday imposes sanctions on buying or selling parts of technology to help Pyongyang's missile development.

South Korea has refused to join a US-led missile defense system -- mainly because it does not want to irritate North Korea and China who oppose the scheme. Japan and the United States signed an agreement in late June to allow them to jointly develop an advanced capability missile interception system.
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