A deadly threat to South Korea

(CNN) — North Korea on Thursday showed off its long-range artillery systems, thousands of weapons that it could use to attack South Korea without warning and could cause thousands of casualties, according to experts.

North Korea’s artillery drills come at a time of rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, as the United States and South Korea hold their annual Freedom Shield drills, which the South Korean military says is aimed at deterring Korean nuclear threats from the North. Will focus on.

North Korea’s Defense Ministry on Monday described 11-day joint exercises between the United States and South Korea as “provocative” and “reckless” and warned that the North Korean military will monitor “bold acts” and carry out “activities” . According to the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), to bring what they called a volatile security situation under control.

Thursday’s artillery drill was North Korea’s second this week, a day after its ground forces infiltrated border guard posts during exercises.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watched both exercises and was seen in photos provided by state media.

Kim Jong Un inspects artillery firing practice of joint large units of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) on March 7. (KCNA)

A KCNA report on Friday said the artillery drill sent a message to South Korea.

“The exercise began with the demonstration firing of long-range artillery subunits near the border, which kept the enemy capital within its attack range and accomplished military operations important for war prevention,” KCNA reported. “

According to the report, Kim “stressed the importance of regular combat mobilization preparations so that all artillery sub-units can take the initiative with rapid and ferocious attacks when entering actual combat.”

Danger always looms over South Korea

North Korea’s artillery systems have been in the headlines in recent weeks, as Pyongyang is arming Russian forces to fight in Ukraine.

Pyongyang has sent about 6,700 containers to Russia since August, which can hold more than 3 million artillery shells or more than 500,000 multiple rocket launcher shells, according to South Korea’s Defense Ministry.

While those weapons pose a major challenge to Ukraine’s defenders, they are also an ever-present threat to South Korea and U.S. military forces deployed on the Korean Peninsula.

Experts say it is almost impossible to defend against artillery attacks.

A 2020 report by the Rand Corp think tank said North Korea’s artillery systems pose a major threat to South Korea, with about 6,000 large weapons within range of South Korea’s major population centers. Such as Kim’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

“If fired at civilian targets, those approximately 6,000 systems could kill more than 10,000 people in just one hour,” the RAND report said.

According to the prediction, in one scenario, a one-minute bombardment of a 2.4 square kilometer area of ​​the capital Seoul using only 54 multiple rocket launchers would cause more than 10,000 casualties.

North Korean artillery firing during large-scale exercises on March 7. (KCNA)

“Because (North Korea’s) bombing can kill thousands of people in just an hour without warning, once the bombing begins it will be difficult for the ROK and the United States to stop it or protect the population,” the report said. before the Republic of Korea could cause serious damage.

Retaliatory strikes by South Korea and the United States would also be difficult to carry out, the report said.

“Most of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) artillery is located in heavily fortified reinforced artillery sites, behind which air defense capabilities are deployed. These physical defense measures make airstrikes and counter-fire against DPRK artillery challenging for U.S. and Republic of Korea forces, the report said.

Kim Jong Un inspects artillery units of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) during exercises on March 7. (KCNA)

Kim has taken a tough stance against South Korea in recent months, saying that North Korea will no longer seek reconciliation and reunification with South Korea and threatening to shut down the country’s military, munitions industry, nuclear weapons and civil defense sectors. In response, he will give instructions to speed up war preparations. by the United States for “confrontational movements”.

In January, Kim called South Korea North Korea’s “main enemy and irreconcilable main enemy” and ordered the demolition of a reunification monument in the North Korean capital.

(tagstotranslate)Kim Jong Un

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