Updated March. 24, 2014 08:29
North Korea fired 46 short-range rockets into the skies over the East Sea for two consecutive days on Saturday and Sunday. The North has fired a total of 88 missiles, rockets and multiple rockets since Friday.
According to South Koreas Joint Chiefs of Staff, the North fired into skies 30 short-range rockets on three rounds in the Galma Peninsula area in its east coast from 4:00 a.m. to 6:10 a.m. on Saturday. It also fired 16 short-range rockets on two rounds in the same area at 0:52 a.m. to 2:21 a.m. on Sunday. The rockets fired by the North flew some 60 kilometers before falling into international waters. A source at the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, As was the case in the March 16 launch, the rockets fired this time are believed to be FROG-group surface-to-surface rockets that were introduced from Russia in the 1960s.
The North reportedly has yet to withdraw more than 10 transporter erector launchers (TEL) and ammunition vehicles around the Galma Peninsula even after the latest firing. The South Korean military beefed up its surveillance over the North to prepare for Pyongyang`s possible additional launch. Since it is unusual that the North has launched rockets in large quantity in such a short period of time, the South Korean military is on high alert. The military is viewing the firing as the Norths military demonstration against the South Korea-U.S. Foal Eagle military drill that will continue through mid-April. Notably, analysts say that the North might be targeting a massive scale joint landing drill scheduled at the end March at waters off Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, which will involve more than 10,000-strong marines from South Korea and the U.S.
Since late last month, the North has demonstrated that it is capable of launching a surprise attack into areas south of the Seoul metropolitan region within 10 minutes by mobilizing hundreds of short-range missiles, rockets and latest models of multiple rockets in its possession en masse. However, the South Korean military has few viable countermeasures at its disposal. The Patriot missiles (PAC-2) in South Korean militarys possession are not capable of intercepting ballistic missiles from the North, and while the project to introduce new Patriot missiles (PAC-3) will only be completed in 2016. As the number of PAC-3 missiles to be introduced only amounts to some 100, many analysts raise concern that the volume cannot adequately counter more than 1,000 ballistic missiles in the Norths possession.