Sunday, February 20, 2005

South Korea Ready for Northern Nukes

Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung said Thursday the military had been ready for North Korean nuclear weapons for years, including with operational plans.
But Yoon told reporters at the Ministry of Defense that Pyongyang would have difficulty using the weapons even if it has them because firing them on the peninsula could mean its own destruction. The situation was therefore different from when atomic bombs were dropped on Japan at the end of the Pacific War, he added. Yoon quoted experts as saying that if North Korea were to use nuclear weapons, it would need to use Russian-made IL-28 bombers capable of carrying ordinance weighing up to 3.5 tons. But North Korea’s presumed A-bombs are believed to weigh 4 tons or more, making them too heavy. Asked about South Korea's ability to intercept missiles, Yoon said the U.S. military set up adequate Patriot counter-missile batteries around the country, permanently ready to launch in the event of a North Korean missile attack or other contingencies. The US has deployed some 64 Patriot missiles in Osan, Suwon, Gunsan and Gwangju.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il