Communist North Korea has completed deployment of new medium-range missiles and expanded its military to 1.2 million, South Korea said Monday, calling the threat from its neighbour “direct and serious.”
The intermediate-range missiles can travel up to 3,000 kilometres (1,860 miles) — enough to cover most of Asia — and carry a warhead of up to 650 kilograms (1,430 pounds), Seoul’s 2008 defence white paper said.
The document was published as the North steps up threats against the South and continues apparent preparations to launch its longest-range missile.
“North Korea’s developing and reinforcing of conventional weaponry, as well as the weapons of mass destruction like nuclear and missiles, and the frontline deployment of military power are a direct and serious threat to our security,” the document said, using stronger language than in the last paper in 2006.
It did not say how many medium-range missiles the North has “deployed for operational use” since 2007.
The paper said the overall size of the military had grown by 20,000 to 1.19 million since 2006, but the number of lightly equipped special forces trained swiftly to infiltrate South Korea had increased 50 percent to 180,000.