07/03/2009, 00.00
KOREA
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South Korea plans to build shelters against possible North Korean nuclear attacks

New facilities should protect against electromagnetic pulse waves unleashed by a nuclear blast. Overall the new structures should cost about US$ 80 million. North Korea appears set to mark US Independence Day with new test launches.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – South Korea will spend tens of millions of dollars to protect against electromagnetic pulse (EMP) waves unleashed by a nuclear blast, an official said Friday. The decision comes after North Korea test-fired four short-range missiles off its east coast earlier this week and announced its intention to test-launch rockets on 4 July, US Independence Day.

The plan to build anti-EMP facilities by 2014 was recently confirmed by a top official in the South Korean military as part of a broader set of long-term plans developed in the wake of North Korea’s ongoing military testing. Overall the EMP facilities should cost about US$ 78 million and “the shelters will be like steel safes.”

Pyongyang yesterday in fact launched four short-range missiles, the first one at 5.20 pm local time, the second launched from a base in Sinsang-ni, in the eastern province of Yanggang.

South Korean sources expect new North Korean missile tests in the next few days. The first one could coincide with US Independence Day but the source did not say whether it will be a “mid- or long-range missile.”

In April Pyongyang announced new missile tests in response to what it described as a “policy of confrontation” by the South Korean government.

Since his election South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has made food and other aid to North Korea conditional on Pyongyang stopping its military testing.

In late May North Korea’s Communist regime also carried out an underground nuclear test (about 20 kilotons) equal to the bombs the United States dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War Two.

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