North Korea has been building new underground missile bases along its east coast, targeting Japan and US military facilities in Japan, a report said.
Some 200 Rodong missiles with a range of up to 2,200 kilometers (1,360 miles) and 50 SSN-6 missiles with ranges of 2,500 to 4,000 kilometers are at the new bases, the state-run Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFANS) said in the report carried by Yonhap news agency.
“The new bases clustered along the east coastal line are for medium- and long-range missiles targeting Japan and US military bases in Japan,” read the report by Yun Deok-Min, an IFANS arms control expert.
“Combined with its nuclear weapons, North Korea’s ballistic missiles provides it with a powerful deterrent.”
North Korea has also constructed new underground missile bases deep in mountains near its border with China, to avoid outside attacks, it said.
The communist nation set off new alarm bells in the region with its July 5 test-firing of seven ballistic missiles which splashed in the Sea of Japan (East Sea). In 1998, it test-launched a missile over Japan.
The UN Security Council unanimously condemned the latest missile tests and adopted a resolution imposing weapons-related sanctions on Pyongyang.
North Korea is said to have a large stockpile of short-range Scuds and medium-range Rodong missiles. It has also tested long-range Taepodong missiles which are in theory capable of hitting US soil.
Sales of missiles and missile technology were believed to be a main source of hard currency for impoverished North Korea, the report said.
North Korea has earned 150 million dollars a year from its missile business, according to the report which cited no sources.
Pyongyang has allegedly sold a total of 500 Scuds to Iran, Libya, Syria, Egypt, and Yemen; a small number of Scuds also to Vietnam and Sudan; and 50-100 Rodong missiles to Iran, Pakistan and Libya, it added.
A Scud missile is said to sell for two million dollars, a Rodong for four million dollars, and a Taepodong-2, the most advanced type, is expected to sell at around 20 million dollars, it said.
North Korea is locked in a standoff with the United States and its allies over its nuclear weapons development which Pyongyang says is for self-defense.
Pyongyang’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Thursday warned against Japan’s recent US-backed military buildup which it said “is aimed to mount a preemptive attack” on North Korea.
“The Japanese reactionaries had better behave with discretion, bearing in mind that reinvasion of Korea is as foolish an act as jumping into fire with (a) faggot on one’s back,” Rodong said.
Japan invaded Korea in 1910 and occupied it until the end of World War II in 1945.