Tensions in the Korean peninsula have been escalating rapidly in recent years.
South Korea accused North Korea on November 2 of launching at least 23 missiles in a single day – the highest frequency ever. In a related move, North Korea fired more than 80 rounds of artillery into the maritime boundary area between the two countries at around midnight on November 4 local time. Both sides have sent out powerful messages that have pushed the tension to a new level.
For the Korean peninsula, due to topographical characteristics, not nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles but artillery are Pyongyang’s main weapon in the military balance with South Korea. Due to special circumstances, North Korea still prioritizes artillery development. It can be said that North Korea possesses the strongest artillery force in the world.
In 2010, the country’s artillery reached the number of 21,100 guns, now this number is continuing to increase with about 22,000 cannons of all kinds. North Korea is focusing on developing long-range and super-long-range artillery, capable of reaching every corner of the South Korean capital. The North Korean long-range artillery also puts US military bases in South Korea under combat range. Military experts say that, with this powerful artillery, North Korea can fire 500,000 rounds into Seoul in just an hour.
In addition to the number, the North Korean artillerymen are also capable of very accurate shooting thanks to the high intensity of training. Focusing on artillery development is considered a deliberate choice by North Korea. In the context of limited economic potential, the development of tactical missiles along with ballistic missiles will create great pressure on the country’s economy.
Deploying artillery will help save much more, while still ensuring efficiency compared to using tactical missiles that are both expensive and easy to intercept. Recently, North Korea has repeatedly tested long-range artillery as an affirmation of the strength of its military. According to analysts, North Korea has placed about 8,000 artillery pieces and rocket artillery systems in the area bordering the two Koreas.
North Korea possesses at least five artillery systems that can reach Seoul, the South Korean capital, including 170 mm Koksan self-propelled gun, and 240 mm and 300 mm multiple rocket launchers capable of hitting the northern suburbs and parts of the city. According to calculations, if North Korea attacked with artillery focused on South Korean military targets, 3,000 people would die in the first hours. If the attack was on any target, 30,000 people would be killed.
Although the defense system of South Korea is very strong and modern, but with a rain of shells, all countermeasures are almost ineffective. A particular point that made it difficult to counter artillery as well as destroy Korean artillery positions because the cannons were hidden in the complex mountainous terrain. This is one of the factors that makes North Korea always have a strong position at the negotiating table with the US and South Korea.