After a failed North Korea rocket launch that nonetheless upset and unsettled the region, South Korea showed off new cruise missiles to reporters, boasting that they could hit any target in North Korea.
"If we are strong, they cannot make provocations,” President Lee Myung-bak was quoted by the Yonhap News Agency on Thursday. “North Korea provokes us when we are weak."
Video footage of a test launch of the cruise missile was shown to reporters on Thursday, reportedly depicting the missile arcing through the air and destroying a target.
“This cruise missile can attack a target as small as a window located hundreds of kilometers away,” Defense Ministry official Shin Won-sik was quoted by Joongang Ilbo, a South Korean news outlet. “We can attack any military target precisely, including North Korea’s facilities, soldiers or equipment.”
Fears are high that North Korea soon will carry out a nuclear test, which it has done twice in the last after trying to launch a rocket. South Korean intelligence has spotted signs that its northern neighbor was gearing up for such a test earlier this month. If it does, South Korea has warned it will retaliate.
Even before the South Korean missiles were unveiled, North Korea had said it would wage a "sacred war to wipe out the Lee Myung-bak group of traitors, the sworn enemy with whom the nation can never live under the same sky," North Korean state media reported Wednesday, blaming South Korea for "extreme provocations."
-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles
Photo: This picture released on Thursday by the South Korean Defense Ministry shows the test-launch of its new cruise missile. Credit: South Korean Defense Ministry via Yonhap / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images