South Korea deploys new cruise missiles

South Korea has begun fitting naval destroyers with a new, indigenously-developed cruise missile capable of making precision strikes anywhere in North Korea, a news report said Friday.

Yonhap news agency quoted a senior military official as saying the South had armed two destroyers with 32 of its Hyunmu 3C Tomahawk-style cruise missiles.

The missiles have a range of 400 kilometres (250 miles) and are capable of reaching targets in the farthest corners of North Korea within a three meter (nine foot) degree of accuracy, the report said.

The unidentified military official said the deployment was partly a response to North Korea's strengthened naval presence off the peninsula's west coast.

The North recently completed a military hovercraft base at Koampo on its southwestern coast, which could be used to attack South Korean islands near the disputed Yellow Sea border.

The maritime boundary was the scene of deadly naval clashes in 1999, 2002 and 2009.

Seoul strengthened its troop presence and upgraded its weaponry on a number of "frontline" islands following North Korea's shelling exactly two years ago of Yeonpyeong island that killed two South Korean marines and two civilians.

The border is not recognised by Pyongyang, which argues it was unilaterally drawn up by the US-led United Nations forces after the 1950-53 Korean war.

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