North Korea Stages Exercise, Issues New Nuclear Warning

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
April 29, 2014, 7:12 a.m.

North Korea on Tues­day staged a live-ar­til­lery ex­er­cise in wa­ters near the South, and the re­gime is­sued a fresh nuc­le­ar warn­ing, news re­ports said.

Roughly 50 mu­ni­tions were fired from two coastal mil­it­ary fa­cil­it­ies in the af­ter­noon, the Yon­hap News Agency re­por­ted. South Korea was no­ti­fied ahead of time about the mari­time ex­er­cise and did not re­turn fire as no North Korean shell crossed in­to its ter­rit­ory.

Mean­while, a power­ful North Korean mil­it­ary body on Monday threatened to do “more than nuc­le­ar tests” in re­sponse to re­cent in­ter­na­tion­al warn­ings on the mat­ter.

“The world is mak­ing all the guesses and con­jec­tures that our new nuc­le­ar test and the rock­et launch will de­vel­op in­to a boos­ted fis­sion weapon or a new gen­er­a­tion of in­ter­con­tin­ent­al bal­list­ic mis­siles,” the North Korean Na­tion­al De­fense Com­mis­sion said in a state­ment quoted by the Cho­son Ilbo news­pa­per.

“If you ask us to tell the truth, we will not deny that we are cap­able of do­ing more than these spec­u­la­tions,” the de­fense com­mis­sion said.

The United States and South Korea are keep­ing a close eye via satel­lites on the North’s Punggye-ri nuc­le­ar test site, where per­son­nel ap­pear to be in the thick of pre­par­a­tions for an ex­pec­ted fourth un­der­ground atom­ic tri­al. U.S. Pres­id­ent Obama and South Korean Pres­id­ent Park Geun-hye on Fri­day warned that Py­ongy­ang could ex­pect more sanc­tions and an end to any hope of re­viv­ing a moribund aid-for-de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion pro­cess if it pro­ceeds with the test.

In re­lated news, the South Korean gov­ern­ment on Monday au­thor­ized a plan to boost do­mest­ic mis­sile de­fenses by up­grad­ing ex­ist­ing in­ter­cept­ors and pur­chas­ing more-cap­able sys­tems from the United States, the Korea Times re­por­ted.

Un­der the ap­proved plan, the South would ac­quire as many as 100 Pat­ri­ot Ad­vanced Cap­ab­il­ity 3 mis­siles between 2016 and 2020 and would seek to buy up­grades for its 48 PAC-2 sys­tems through a com­pet­it­ive bid pro­cess, the Korea Her­ald re­por­ted.

The new in­ter­cept­ors and mis­sile up­grades will be used to boost the ef­fect­ive­ness of the coun­try’s Korea Air and Mis­sile De­fense frame­work, which is de­signed to counter lower-alti­tude bal­list­ic mis­siles fired by North Korea.

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