North Korea has deployed additional long-range missiles capable of reaching Japan, the South Korean Defense Ministry said Saturday, adding to concerns over Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
With tensions high on the peninsula, the ministry also said North Korean artillery had been brought closer to Seoul.
“Recently, the North has deployed one additional Rodong missile battalion to reinforce military capabilities and has moved forward 170 mm and 240 mm 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, 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 190 to 310 miles and its Rodong 1 missiles, whose numbers were being reinforced, could reach 810 miles.
The Taepodong 2 missile, with a range of 3,700 miles, 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 25 miles from the Demilitarized Zone, so the capital can be brought under fire even by artillery, especially heavy guns such as the 170 mm and 240 mm pieces mentioned in the white paper.
Japan is only about 300 miles from North Korea.
A ministry spokesman would not reveal how many missiles had been deployed or where they were located.
And the ministry did not specify the type or size of warhead that the missiles could deliver over the ranges it listed. Rockets can throw lighter warheads further than heavy ones.