South Korea to build up marines to bolster defense on Yellow Sea islands

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by Someoneforyou, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. Someoneforyou

    Someoneforyou Regular Member

    Jan 26, 2011
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    SEOUL, Feb. 8 -- South Korea's military is pushing to increase the number of its marines by as many as 2,000, as part of its efforts to bolster defense capability for five islands near the tense Yellow Sea border with North Korea, a government source said Tuesday.

    The South has beefed up forces and military arsenal on the islands since one of the islands was shelled by North Korea last November, in which two marines and two civilians were killed.

    "The military is internally reviewing a plan to increase the number of marines by 1,500 to 2,000," the source said on condition of anonymity.

    If finalized, the move will increase the size of the Marine Corps to some 29,000 from the current 27,000, the source said.

    A portion of the new marines will be assigned to a new command organization responsible for defending the five islands. The new command is scheduled to be established in April, according to military officials.

    The North's bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island marked the first attack on a civilian area on the South's soil since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

    Since the attack, the South's military has deployed more K9 self-propelled howitzers, weapons-locating radar systems and guided missiles capable of surgical strikes against North Korean artillery hidden in caves.

    The military is also considering deploying ship-to-surface cruise missiles on a 4,500-ton destroyer patrolling the Yellow Sea border, a military source said.

    The Hyunmu-3A missile has a range of 500 kilometers and is capable of striking the North's surface-to-ship missile units along the maritime border.

    "We are reviewing a plan to deploy the Hyunmu-3A missiles on a KDX-II class destroyer by the end of this year," the military source said.

    The defense ministry plans to report its plans to further bolster defense capability for the Yellow Sea islands to the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae this month, according to the source.

    Source: Yonhap News Agency

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