Strategic Force of North had 800 missiles in 2014: report

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Strategic Force of North had 800 missiles in 2014: report

The Korean People’s Army Strategic Force, which is threatening to target waters near Guam with four ballistic missiles, possessed nearly 100 transporter-erector launchers and 800 missiles in 2014, according to a report compiled by the South Korean military back then and exclusively acquired by the JoongAng Ilbo.

It is unknown precisely how many of each the military branch currently controls.

The Strategic Force was first mentioned in North Korean media in April 2012 during a speech Kim Jong-un made to celebrate the centennial birthday of his grandfather and the late state founder, Kim Il Sung.

What was called the Missile Guidance Bureau at that time was renamed the Korean People’s Army Strategic Force in June 2014.

Since Feb. 15, 2014, the branch has been led by Kim Rak-gyom, who last week said that an operational plan aiming at waters near the American island in the Western Pacific will be completed by mid-August and reported to Kim Jong-un for his final order.

According to the South Korean military report in 2014, the strategic force was divided into three sub-groups: short-range Scud missiles, which can fly between 50 and 1,000 kilometers (31 to 621 miles); mid-range Rodong missiles, which can fly 300 to 1,300 kilometers; and intermediate-range Musudan missiles, which can fly 500 to 3,500 kilometers.

The Scud team was said to be stationed right above the border dividing the two Koreas, aiming at the South. The Rodong team was in the northern part of the country, aiming at the South and Japan, while the Musudan team was mainly in the middle of North Korea, in charge of striking anywhere in South Korea below Daegu, Japan and Guam.

Three years ago, South Korea’s military also wrote that it was watching out for the North’s development of anti-ship ballistic missiles. North Korea was also thought to be working on cluster bombs that it could use against South Korean and U.S. Air Force bases.

BY LEE CHUL-JAE [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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