Sun, Jul 20, 2003 - Page 5 News List

N Korea tops atomic danger list

WARNING Director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei urged international cooperation to diffuse the threat from Pyongyang

AP AND REUTERS , VIENNA AND SEOUL

"Recently, the North has deployed one additional Rodong missile battalion to reinforce military capabilities and has moved forward 170mm and 240mm cannon, increasing its threat to the South's metropolitan area," the ministry said in a white paper on defense policy.

In a rare incident, the North fired on an observation post in the Demilitarized Zone, the peninsula's fortified frontier, on Thursday, raising tension just as Pyongyang appeared set to return to talks on its nuclear ambitions.

The ministry said North Korea's Scud B/C missiles had a range of 300km to 500km and its Rodong 1 missiles, whose numbers were being reinforced, could reach 1,300km.

The Taepodong 2 missile, with a range of 6,000km, was now being developed, the ministry said in the document, a book-sized review of South Korea's defense situation.

South Korea's population is within easy reach of such ballistic missiles, which are difficult or impossible to intercept.

The northern outskirts of Seoul are 40km from the Demilitarized Zone, so the capital can be brought under fire even by artillery, especially heavy guns such as the 170mm and 240mm pieces mentioned in the white paper.

Japan is only about 500km from North Korea.

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