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NKorean base could handle longer-range missile: SKorean minister

Three missiles recovered after SKorean air force mishap: ministry
South Korea's air force has retrieved three of four live missiles which fell to the ground after two jet fighters brushed one another north of Seoul on Tuesday during training, the defence ministry said. One of the F-5E jets crashed into a rice paddy, narrowly missing a village, after the pilot had ejected safely, and the other suffered damage to its tail but managed to return to base. Four undetonated air-to-air missiles -- two from each jet -- fell to the ground after the impact near Pocheon, 46 kilometres (29 miles) north of Seoul, the ministry said. "Three of the four missing AIM-9 missiles have been recovered and we are trying to locate the remaining one," air force spokesman Moon Chae-Wook told AFP. One missile was found on a hillside just behind a village church, while a second was recovered near the site of the incident. "The third missile was found in a nearby mountain," the spokesman said. He said there was "a very low possibility" of the remaining downed missile exploding on the ground because they were designed to be detonated only by a switch inside the jet.
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Nov 4, 2008
A new launch site being built on North Korea's west coast could handle a missile larger than the communist state has previously fired, South Korea's defence chief said Tuesday.

Defence Minister Lee Sang-Hee told parliament the site at Dongchang-ri, 120 kilometres (75 miles) northwest of Pyongyang, was 80 percent completed.

He estimated that it would be capable of launching a bigger missile than the current Taepodong series, or one carrying a satellite, but gave no further details.

Lee in September had confirmed the existence of the new site.

The North has a separate site at Musudan-ri on the east coast which was used to launch a Taepodong-1 missile in 1998 over Japan. It said at the time the aim was to put a satellite into orbit but the move alarmed Japan and other nations.

A Taepodong-2 missile was launched from Musudan-ri in 2006 but US officials said it failed.

South Korea's Dong-A Ilbo newspaper reported last month that the North is developing a solid fuel-propelled ballistic missile, a modified model of the Taepodong-2, with a range of 10,000 kilometres.

The current Taepodong-2 is said to have a range of 6,700 kilometres.

The North conducted a nuclear weapons test in October 2006. It is not known whether it has the technical capacity to fit an atomic warhead to a missile.

In September an independent analyst who has seen imagery of the new Dongchang site said in the United States that it is designed to support a significant flight test programme.

"It is significant because it indicates an intention to develop a capability of developing a reliable ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile)," said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.Org, a research group which specialises in security issues.

SKorea shielding 70 NKorean refugees in China: minister
About 70 North Korean refugees are under the protection of South Korean diplomats in China, waiting for tickets to Seoul, the South's foreign minister said Tuesday.

Yu Myung-Hwan told parliament that the refugees included South Koreans kidnapped by North Korea.

"We are trying to bring them here as soon as possible," he said, declining to give details.

By official count 494 South Koreans, mostly fishermen, were seized in the Cold War decades following the 1950-53 Korean conflict, while more than 500 prisoners of war were never sent home in 1953.

North Korea denies holding any South Koreans against their will, although some have managed to escape and come South.

Tens of thousands of North Koreans fleeing hunger or repression are believed to be hiding out in China, which repatriates those whom it catches under an agreement with Pyongyang.

Some refugees try to travel on from China to Southeast Asian countries in hopes of eventual resettlement in South Korea.

More than 14,000 North Koreans have fled to South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953, the vast majority in recent years.

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US Navy, Raytheon Achieve Program Milestone On JSOW C-1
Tucson AZ (SPX) Nov 04, 2008
The U.S. Navy and Raytheon have completed a critical design review of the Joint Standoff Weapon C-1, achieving a major program milestone.

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