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North Korea installs rocket launchers near South Korea island

North Korea is raising tensions on the maritime border between North and South.

By
Elizabeth Shim
North Korea test fires missiles into the Yellow Sea in this photo published in 2009. Pyongyang has installed four 122-mm multiple rocket launchers on the secluded North Korean island of Gal, according to Seoul. File Photo by Yonhap
North Korea test fires missiles into the Yellow Sea in this photo published in 2009. Pyongyang has installed four 122-mm multiple rocket launchers on the secluded North Korean island of Gal, according to Seoul. File Photo by Yonhap

SEOUL, July 22 (UPI) -- South Korea confirmed North Korea has installed multiple rocket launchers less than three miles from Yeonpyeong Island.

Seoul's military command said Pyongyang had installed four 122-mm multiple-rocket launchers on the secluded North Korean island of Gal, South Korean news network Yonhap TV reported.

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Gal is uninhabitable, but South Korea said the North had placed around 100 soldiers on its southernmost territory.

South Korean newspaper Herald Business reported North Korea had placed nine military facilities, and six of the facilities were enhanced with firepower.

The rocket launchers fire the same weapons that were used to shell the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong in November 2010, killing four South Korean civilians. The launchers can send rockets flying up to a distance of 12.4 miles in all four directions, and each 2.87-meter rocket weighs 146 pounds, Seoul said.

North Korea is raising the Fahrenheit on tensions along the maritime border between North and South.

Yang Uk, a senior fellow at the Korea Defense and Security Forum in South Korea, said the North is raising the threat level to gain negotiating power against Seoul.

In February, North Korea announced it had conducted landing drills targeting South Korea islands in the Yellow Sea and that it retains ownership of anti-ship missile Silkworm and surface-to-air missile SA-2.

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North Korea disputes the Northern Limit Line that sets water boundaries for North and South Korea. The reclusive country has stated in the past the NLL violates the Korean armistice agreement and U.S., South Korean insistence on the line is justification for potential provocation.

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