The Korea Herald:
North Korea’s recent deployment of four multiple rocket launchers on a border island is raising questions whether South Korea is sufficiently prepared to handle threats from these rockets and other artillery targeting Seoul and its surrounding areas.
In recent years, defense discourse here has centered on countering the North’s strategic weapons systems such as ballistic missiles and nuclear arms, while attention to more existential threats — long-range artillery and multiple rocket launchers — appears to be insufficient.
Though its intentions remain unclear, Pyongyang’s dispatch of the four 122 mm-caliber rocket launchers on Galdo Island, just 4.5 kilometers away from South Korea’s Yeonpyeongdo Island, was a stern reminder that the artillery threats continue to escalate and need greater policy attention, analysts said.
“North Korea’s long-range artillery, multiple rocket launchers and short-range missiles are the most serious security challenge facing South Korea, as these could inflict huge damages in the beginning phase of an armed conflict, even if the South may ultimately win,” said Park Won-gon, security expert at Handong Global University.
“When those weapons are used against the South all at once, there are virtually no viable means to counter them — a reason why it is crucial for us to maintain deterrence by communicating a clear, repeated message to the North that a provocation would trigger a stronger, costly retaliation.”