S. Korea vows ‘overwhelming response’ if N. Korea provokes

SEOUL, The South Korean military said Tuesday it is ready to "overwhelmingly" respond to any North Korean provocations as Pyongyang is dialing up tensions with a series of new weapons tests. North Korea said Monday it has developed a 240 mm-caliber controllable multiple rocket launcher shell and its ballistic control system to expand its weapons arsenal. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected and monitored the North's test firing in real time Sunday afternoon and has been analyzing its specifications jointly with the United States. "Our military maintains a posture that can overwhelmingly respond to North Korea's artillery provocations, while continuously monitoring its weapons development and enhancing our deterrence and response capabilities," JCS spokesperson Col. Lee Sung-jun said in a regular press briefing. Lee said the military didn't immediately release the information as the rocket launcher does not fall within the scope of disclosure as outlined in its protocol. The JCS usually unveil s the North's ballistic missile and major weapons tests. The North conducted the test firing of the multiple rocket launcher shells toward the Yellow Sea from an area near the western port city of Nampho on Sunday, according to military sources. The North's 240 mm multiple rocket launcher system is known to be deployed near the border, posing potential threats to the South's broader capital area. The latest test came just days ahead of the late leader Kim Jong-il's birthday, a major holiday that falls on Friday this year, but there have been no special movements by the North Korean military so far, according to the JCS. North Korea has ratcheted up tensions on the Korean Peninsula with weapons tests in the new year, including launches of cruise missiles from sea and land, as well as artillery firings into waters near the western inter-Korean sea border. Source: Yonhap News Agency