Seoul: South Korea plans to deploy Apache
choppers to a border island to guard against attacks by North
Korea after Pyongyang`s deadly shelling of another frontline
island in November, a report said today.
The South`s military is building helicopter hangars
capable of accommodating several attack helicopters in
Baengnyeong island near the tense maritime border on the
Yellow Sea, Yonhap news agency said, citing a military source.
By October 2012, South Korea`s military will have 36
Apache attack choppers armed with guided missiles and rockets,
some of which will be deployed to the closest island to the
disputed border with the North, Yonhap said.
Local media have reported the North has recently built
a new naval base in Goampo, about 50 kilometres north of
Baengnyeong, that could send some 60 hovercraft with military
commandos aboard to the South.
"We now need large attack choppers since the (North`s)
naval base has turned out to be far bigger than we had
thought, posing a bigger threat of infiltration," said a
source quoted by Yonhap.
A defence ministry spokesman said it has been trying
to strengthen the military presence near the border, but
declined to elaborate further.
The Yellow Sea maritime border has been the scene of
deadly naval clashes between two Koreas in 1999, 2002 and
One of five frontier islands there -- Yeonpyeong --
was shelled last November by the North in artillery attacks
that killed four South Koreans including two civilians.
Seoul since then has deployed more troops and weapons
to the frontline islands that had long been guarded by
thousands of marines and naval forces.