In the News – N.Korea Stations Attack Helicopters Near Sea Border

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In the News – N.Korea Stations Attack Helicopters Near Sea Border

North Korea has deployed around 20 helicopters at two bases near South Korea’s Baeknyeong Island in the West Sea, according to a government source here. They include attack helicopters that are capable of engaging targets on the ground.

Baeknyeong Island is South Korea’s northernmost island that lies just south of the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border with North Korea. The North has deployed the attack and transport helicopters at air bases since May, the source said. “They seem to have been put there independently of any military exercises,” the source added.

The choppers are upgraded versions of Mi-2s as well as Mi-4 and Mi-8 troop carriers. But some are armed with heavy machine guns and rockets.

The deployment is believed to be part of a strategy targeting the South Korean islands that would also involve hydrofoils.

After Kim Jong-un took power at the end of last year, North Korea deployed rocket launchers, hydrofoils, Mi-2 helicopters and fighter jets on the western coastline and conducted military drills which appeared to prepare for an invasion of the South Korean islands. The deployment of the helicopters seems to be a response to South Korea deploying AH-1S Cobra attack helicopters and multiple launch rocket systems on the West Sea islands.

The South Korean military is ready to strike back with Cheonma surface-to-air-missiles or deploy KF-16 fighter jets if the North mobilizes a large number of choppers.

The South Korean military also plans to bolster anti-aircraft weapons stationed on the West Sea islands if the ones already deployed there are deemed insufficient to fend off a North Korean invasion.

“There are no signs yet that North Korea is seeking to stage a provocation,” said a military source. “But since the ouster of North Korean army chief Ri Yong-ho, there may be some instability in the North Korean army, so we have stepped up our preparedness.”

Original Article 

In the News – NSA Bringing in Midnight Disappearance

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In the News – NSA Bringing in Midnight Disappearance

Since the National Security Agency (NSA) took over border security from the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces last month, measures taken against the families of defectors have been stepped up, Daily NK has learned. This even includes the kind of midnight arrests and disappearances that used to characterize the way political criminals and their families were taken away to prison camps.

Finding that people are disappearing overnight is causing a lot of nervousness for others living in areas adjoining the border, according to a Daily NK source from North Hamkyung Province.

“Right now the atmosphere along the border has gotten pretty brutal,” the source told Daily NK yesterday. “Cases are happening where families of defectors or people who have ever been found making international phone calls just disappear without a trace.”

“Last week in Hoiryeong, three families categorized as ‘household of a defector’ by the NSA were dragged off somewhere one night,” the source said. “And a few weeks ago a foreign currency earner who had called China was dragged off by the NSA and hasn’t been heard from since.

Mostly in the past, if a person were caught making an international call by the NSA or signal detection team in the border area, he or she could avoid serious censure as long as 300,000 to 1,000,000 won in fines was paid. Failing that, punishment usually only meant time in prison. If a defector were arrested, he or she could expect a public trial during which a fine or spell in detention would be handed down

However, the new measures are characteristic of the NSA, which has always focused on instilling fear in the target population.

The source said, “People are feeling really anxious, thinking that they can’t even remonstrate now or risk being taken away one day. Whole defector families can’t even sleep when the sound of an engine comes in the night.”

 

Original article can be found here.