North Korea is constructing a military site on a small island close to Yeonpyeong-do, the South Korean news site TV Chosun reported Thursday.
According to South Korean military authorities, the DPRK’s Korean People’s Army is constructing facilities on the small Yellow Sea island of Gal-do. North Korea may be constructing positions for coastal artillery and/or long-range artillery.
Gal-do is located about 2.4 kilometers from the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de facto maritime border between North and South Korea in the Yellow Sea.
The island is about 4.5 kilometers from the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong-do, which was bombarded by North Korean artillery on November 23, 2010.
The most recently available imagery of Gal-do on Google Earth – from January 2015 – showed no obvious signs of construction work or military presence. Any such activity on the island must have occurred after January.
The island of Gal-do is small and only about 2 kilometers closer to Yeonpyeong-do than Jangjae-do, which is already home to a North Korean military facility.
Though North Korean artillery – both on other islands and on the mainland – is already within range of South Korean islands, the addition of artillery positions on Gal-do would allow for quicker and easier observation and accurate fire than from existing sites.
The new site would not substantially increase the actual artillery threat to South Korean islands, but the close presence may have a psychological impact on the South Korean military and present more DPRK sites in the area that require monitoring.
South Korea’s islands in the Yellow Sea, along the NLL are isolated from the rest of South Korean territory and highly vulnerable to sudden attacks from North Korea.
Featured image: KCNA
North Korea is constructing a military site on a small island close to Yeonpyeong-do, the South Korean news site TV Chosun reported Thursday.According to South Korean military authorities, the DPRK's Korean People’s Army is constructing facilities on the small Yellow Sea island of Gal-do. North Korea may be constructing positions for coastal artillery and/or long-range artillery.Gal-do
John G. Grisafi is an analyst and Korean linguist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Having previously worked as an analyst for the United States Army in South Korea and studied Korean at the Defense Language Institute, he is now majoring in East Asian Languages & Civilization and History at the University of Pennsylvania.