SEOUL, April 11 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's missile defense system may intercept missiles possibly launched by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) if they are to strike the South Korean territory, the defense ministry said Thursday.
"We have Patriot missiles. The missiles cannot cover all the nationwide territory, but if (the DPRK's missiles) come within the area of our coverage, we can strike down (those missiles)," Kim Min-seok, spokesman at the Ministry of National Defense, said at a press briefing.
South Korea is currently operating the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC)-2 missile defense program, which has the capability to shoot down missiles and aircrafts at the altitude of 30 kilometers.
"Our military is holding the full readiness posture on concerns that North Korea (DPRK)'s missiles can threaten the safety of our territory and nationals," Kim said.
Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se told lawmakers on Wednesday that the DPRK would highly likely test launch mid-range missiles "at any time from now on." Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said on April 4 that Pyongyang moved intermediate-range missiles, estimated to be Musudan, to its east coast.
The "Musudan" missiles, which are estimated to have a range of about 3,500 kilometers and reach the U.S. military base in Guam, were believed to be mounted on mobile launchers known as the transporter-erector-launcher (TEL).
The missiles were feared to be fired off around April 15 when Pyongyang celebrates the birthday of Kim Il-sung, the DPRK's founder and the late grandfather of the current leader Kim Jung-un.
Regarding the possibility for the DPRK to launch several missiles from different sites, Kim said that "no one knows how many missiles and what kind of missiles North Korea will fire off among Scud, Nodong and Musudan."
According to government officials cited by Yonhap News Agency, the DPRK was repeatedly moving the relocated Musudan missiles in and out of the facilities that were concealing them in the shed. Around five TELs, estimated to be loaded with Scud and Nodong missiles, were moving from place to place in South Hamgyeong Province.
The Scud missiles are estimated to have a range of between 300 and 500 kilometers, with the range for Nodong missiles estimated at 1,300-1,500 kilometers.
"We cannot rule out the possibility for Scud and Nodong missiles to be launched instead of Musudan given the relocation of missiles," said an official cited by Yonhap.
WASHINGTON, April 10 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Wednesday urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to refrain from further provocations amid reports of an imminent missile launch by the Asian nation.
State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said Washington was monitoring the situation and coordinating "closely" with its allies and partners. Full story
SEOUL, April 10 (Xinhua) -- South Korean foreign minister said Wednesday that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is highly likely to launch mid-range missiles "at any time from now on."
"According to intelligence collected by our side and the U.S., possibility for North Korea (DPRK)'s missile launch is very high," Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said at a parliamentary meeting for foreign affairs and unification. "The possibility can be realized at any time from now on." Full story
SEOUL, April 9 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday voiced her disappointment over the tentative suspension of the Kaesong Industrial Complex by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
"It is very disappointing that North Korea (DPRK) said yesterday that it would tentatively halt operations of the Kaesong industrial complex that have been running normally," Park said during a Cabinet meeting. Full story
SEOUL, April 9 (Xinhua) -- South Korea is seeing the warning by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to foreigners in Seoul to consider evacuation as psychological warfare, the presidential office said Tuesday.
"(The warning) is seen as psychological warfare against foreigners in South Korea," presidential spokeswoman Kim Haing said at a press briefing. "We believe that foreigners in South Korea as well as our nationals will be unfazed as they have great confidence and trust in our military and the Republic of Korea." Full story
WASHINGTON, April 9 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. commander in charge of forces in the Asia Pacific region said Tuesday that if the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) launches a missile in the near future, he would recommend U.S. forces shoot it down when U.S. homeland, forward-deployed forces and allies were threatened.
At a Senate hearing, Samuel Locklear, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, said if it was "in defense of the homeland... and if it was defense of our allies," he would recommend U.S. forces shoot down DPRK missile, if the country launches one. Full story
WASHINGTON, April 9 (Xinhua) -- The White House said Tuesday that Pyongyang's latest call for foreigners to leave South Korea will only escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
The move is "more unhelpful rhetoric that serves only to escalate tensions," which "will only further isolate" the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), White House Spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at a regular press briefing. Full story