Source says naval base in North is nearly built

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Source says naval base in North is nearly built

North Korea has nearly finished building a sprawling naval base near the tense sea border with South Korea, a high-level government source said Sunday. It will be capable of housing about 60 air-cushioned vessels that can be used for infiltration attacks.

South Korea spotted air-cushioned vessels and hangar-shaped buildings at the naval base that has been under construction in Goampo in the North’s Hwanghae Province, the source said. The base is about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from South Korea’s northernmost island of Baengnyeong.

There are about 60 storage buildings at the base, capable of housing 60 air-cushioned vessels.

The North is expected to deploy air-cushioned boats and battleships there starting next month, the source said.

The North’s 170-ton air-cushioned battleship is equipped with 57-mm and 30-mm guns.

“South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities are keeping a close eye on the Goampo base,” another source said.

“In particular, the military is trying to draw up countermeasures based on an assessment that the North will use the Goampo naval base for surprise infiltration [attacks],” the source said.

The western sea border has been a constant source of military tension between the two Koreas. Tension in the area has risen further after the sinking of the Cheonan warship and the shelling of a South Korean island last year.

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