Outside Publications by CNS Staff

South Korean Response to North Korean July Missile Exercise Includes Unveiling of New Cruise Missile

By Daniel A. Pinkston

An analysis for the WMD Insights.
October 4, 2006 © WMD Insights. All rights reserved.

Since North Korea conducted flight tests of seven ballistic missiles on July 5, 2006 (local time), the international media have focused on the diplomatic responses from various international actors, including South Korea. South Korea has also responded militarily by disclosing for the first time that it has developed a potent new land attack cruise missile.

International Diplomatic Response
The most far-reaching international response to the North Korean missile tests was the unanimous decision of the United Nations Security Council, on July 15, 2006, to adopt Security Council Resolution 1695, which requires all member states to refrain from purchasing North Korean missiles or missile-related items, and to prevent the export of such items or missile-related resources to North Korea. [1]

Since passage of the resolution, the United States and its allies have begun to impose sanctions against North Korean entities deemed to be engaged in weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation. On July 28, 2006, the United States imposed sanctions against the Korea Mining and Industrial Development Corporation (KOMID) and the Korea Pugang Trading Corporation under Section 3 of the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000. [2] The sanctions, banning U.S. exports to and imports from the entities, were merely symbolic, however, because the two entities had already been placed on the U.S. sanctions list in 2005, and the United States conducts no economic transactions with these organizations. On September 19, 2006, pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1695, Australia also imposed sanctions against 12 North Korea entities and Japan against 15 North Korean entities. Japan's sanctions, among other prohibitions, freeze the assets of the entities in Japan, banning the withdrawal of funds and remittances to North Korea from the entities' Japanese accounts. [3]

South Korea's diplomatic response has been more ambivalent. Seoul initially suspended the delivery of food and fertilizer assistance to North Korea that had been under consideration prior to the missile exercise, but in late August 2006, decided to provide 100,000 tons of humanitarian food assistance after North Korea suffered serious damage from flooding. [4] Commercial activities and South Korean construction projects in the North have not been curtailed. Given these events and South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun's history of engaging North Korea, many analysts question whether the Roh government would be willing to impose a rigorous sanctions regime or economic embargo on the DPRK, even in response to a North Korean nuclear weapon test.

South Korean Military Response
While Roh's sanctions policy may have been indecisive, South Korea has responded more emphatically in the military sphere. Within days of the North Korean missile exercise, South Korean officials disclosed to media sources that the country had developed a powerful land attack cruise missile (LACM), capable of reaching sites deep in North Korea, and that the South Korean Army would establish an integrated Missile Command, to be formed in October 2006. On July 7, Defense Minister Yun Kwang-ung said that South Korea had "tested cruise missiles probably more than ten times over the last three years." Yun also said the United States had been aware of ROK's cruise missile development program. The latest test apparently was conducted in December 2005. [5]

Details regarding the capabilities of the new cruise missile, known as the Ch'ŏnnyong ("sky dragon") were disclosed in mid-September 2006. The Ch'ŏnnyong is reported to have a range of 500 kilometers and to be highly accurate (50 percent of strikes are expected to fall within three meters of the designated target). South Korean military sources have indicated that Seoul intends to increase the missile's range to 1,000 kilometers within the next five years. [6] South Korea is a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which it joined in 2001. MTCR members agree to adopt uniform export control measures aimed at curbing the spread of ballistic and cruise missiles able to carry a 500 kilogram payload to a distance of 300 kilometers or more, including systems with equivalent capabilities (where range has been reduced to increase payload or vice versa). The MTCR does not prohibit members from producing missiles above this threshold, but the United States usually requires states seeking to join the MTCR to agree not to build new cruise or ballistic missiles with such capabilities. Although the range of the Ch'ŏnnyong exceeds 300 kilometers, its payload capacity may be small enough to keep the system below the combined range/payload MTCR threshold.

The Ch'ŏnnyong will be deployed over the next year or two by the South Korean Army Missile Command, which will be headquartered in central South Korea and tasked with countering the North Korean artillery and missile threat. [7] Besides the Ch'ŏnnyong, the Command will be equipped with Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS); the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) (surface-to-surface ballistic missiles with ranges up to 300 kilometers); Hyŏnmu surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, with a range of 180 kilometers; and K-9 self-propelled artillery. The Command will not have a missile defense capability, but the unit will have unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to provide surveillance and firepower support. [8] The Army Missile Command's establishment is part of South Korea's extensive defense reforms planned over the next 14 years. [9]

Press reports immediately after the North Korean tests also revealed that the South Korean Navy intends to deploy the land-attack Ch'ŏnnyong on three 1,800-ton-class diesel submarines, scheduled for procurement in 2007, and on its operational KDX-II Destroyers, as well as on KDX-III Destroyers, the first of which is scheduled for completion in 2008. [10] The Ch'ŏnnyong will complement a new ship-to-ship cruise missile called the Haesŏng, unveiled by the South Korean Navy in March 2006. [11]

Once deployed, the Ch'ŏnnyong cruise missile will be capable of striking North Korean missile facilities near the Chinese border, but with an extended range of 1,000 km, the missile would also be able to strike a wider range of targets in the region. According to recent reports, South Korea's Agency for Defense Development began developing the Ch'ŏnnyong in the early 1990s, but suspended the project for a number of years under pressure from the United States because of a bilateral agreement which at that time had limited the range of South Korean missiles to 180 km. [12]

[1] United Nations Security Council, "Security Council Condemns Democratic People's Republic of Korea's Missile Launches, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1695 (2006)," Department of Public Information, News and Media Division, New York, July 15, 2006, http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/sc8778.doc.htm; [View Article] Paul Kerr, "Security Council Condemns NK Missile Tests," Arms Control Today, September 2006, http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2006_09/NKMissileTest.asp. [View Article]
[2] Department of State, "Public Notice 5483: Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation; Imposition of Nonproliferation Measures against Foreign Entities, Including a ban on U.S. Government Procurement," Federal Register, Vol. 71, No. 150, August 4, 2006.
[3] Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "Countering North Korean Proliferation Finance Activities," Media Release FA105, September 19, 2006, http://www.foreignminister.gov.au/releases/2006/fa105_06.html;
[View Article] "Japan, Australia Slap N. Korea With Financial Sanctions," Chosun Ilbo, September 19, 2006, http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200609/200609190019.html. [View Article]
[4] "Seoul to Send Rice Aid to N.Korea by Month's End," Chosun Ilbo, August 21, 2006, http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200608/200608210013.html.
[5] Kim Su-ch'an, "[Puk misail palsa] kun, k'ŭrujŭ misail kaebal'e pakch'a [[North's missile launch] military, accelerating development of cruise missiles]," Han'gukkyŏngjesinmun, July 7, 2006, in KINDS, [http://www.kinds.or.kr].
[6] Kim Min-sŏk, "Pukhan hubang misail kiji yusasi chŏngmil p'okkyŏk kanŭng [In an emergency, rear area missile bases in North Korean can be attacked with precision]," Joongang Ilbo, September 21, 2006, [http://www.joins.com]; "S. Korea Develops Cruise Missile Capable of Hitting Most of N. Korea," The Hankyoreh, September 21, 2006, http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/159162.html. [View Article]
[7] Kim Chong-t'ae, "Pukhubang kiji chŏngmilp'okkyŏk kanŭng k'ŭrujŭ misail ‘ch'ŏnnyong' kaebal [Precision bombing of North's rear bases possible with development of ‘ch'ŏnnyong cruise missile]," Munhwa Ilbo, September 21, 2006, p. 2.
[8] Yu Yong-wŏn, "[Anbori taebuk kyŏl'ŭi ch'aet'aek] puk changsajŏngpo-sŭk'ŏdŭ wihyŏp taeŭng yukkun yudot'an saryŏngbu 10 wŏl ch'angsŏl [[UN Security Council Resolution against the North adopted] army to establish missile command to deal with the threat of the North's long-range artillery and Scuds]," Chosun Ilbo, July 17, 2006, p. 5; Kim Sang-yŏn, "Yudot'ansaryŏngbu 10 wŏlkke ch'angsŏl [Missile command to be established around October], Seoul Sinmun, July 17, 2006, p. 8; Yi Wu-sŭng, "Yukkun yudot'ansaryŏngbu 10 wŏljjŭm ch'angsŏl [Army missile command to be established around October]," Segye Ilbo, July 17, 2006, p. 2; Lockheed-Martin, "ATACMS," http://www.lockheedmartin.com/data/assets/1515.pdf#search=%22ATACMS%22. [View Article]
[9] "Kun, puk misail taeŭng ‘yudot'ansaryŏngbu' 10 wŏl ch'angsŏl [Military, ‘missile command' to be established in October to deal with North's missiles]," Kukmin Ilbo, July 16, 2006. For an analysis of South Korea's defense reforms, see Han Yong-sup, "Analyzing South Korea's Defense Reform 2020," The Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, Vol. 18, No. 1, Spring 2006, http://kida.re.kr/data/kjda/06_1_5.pdf. [View Article]
[10] See source in [6]; Ŏm Ki-yŏng, "[Puk misail palsa p'amun] sagŏri chehan anbatko chŏngmilt'ayŏk…urigun kaebalchung'in sunhangmisail'ŭn [[Repercussions of the North's missile launches] No range limit and precision strikes…the cruise missile that our military is developing]," Kukmin Ilbo, July 9, 2006.
[11] Daniel A. Pinkston, "South Korea Unveils New [Anti-ship] Cruise Missile and MANPAD," WMD Insights, April 2006, http://www.wmdinsights.com/I4/EA2_SouthKoreaUnveils.htm. [View Article]
[12] Kim Min-seok, "Seoul Has Longer-range Cruise Missile," Joongang Ilbo, September 21, 2006, http://joongangdaily.joins.com/200609/20/200609202210198979900090309031.html; [View Article] Kim Min-sŏk, "Pukhan hubang misail kiji yusasi chŏngmil p'okkyŏk kanŭng [In an emergency, rear area missile bases in North Korean can be attacked with precision]," Joongang Ilbo, September 21, 2006, [http://www.joins.com]. An earlier South Korean press report in September 1998 had stated that, the Ch'ŏnnyong project (ch'onnyong saŏp) began in the late 1980s with the objective of developing a missile with a range of 400 km. See, "Misail chu'gwŏn – hoebok kŭphada [Restoration of missile sovereignty is urgent]," Chayu Sinmun, Issue No. 241, September 12, 1998, reprinted in "Puk palsach'e, kwedojinip silp'ae pulgu changgŏri palsa t'usaryŏk kwasi [Despite failure of North's rocket to reach orbit, a display of long-range power projection]," Tongil News, February 26, 2001.


Author(s): Daniel A. Pinkston
Related Resources: DPRK, Missile, East Asia
Date Created: October 4, 2006
Date Updated: -NA-
Return to Top