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N. Korea's jamming of GPS signals poses new threat: defense minister
SEOUL, Oct. 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's ability to jam GPS signals presents a new threat, one that Seoul is working to deal with, South Korea's defense minister said Tuesday.

   "We have an intelligence report that says North Korea can jam GPS signals within a 50- to 100-kilometer radius," minister Kim Tae-young said at a parliamentary audit. "North Korea has imported vehicle-mountable devices capable of jamming GPS signals from Russia."
Kim earlier said the North is believed to be behind the occasional malfunctioning of GPS signal receivers in parts of South Korea's west coastal areas for hours on Aug. 23-25.

   Seoul, however, could not find out exactly from where in North Korea the disrupting signals came because the jamming lasted for only 10 minutes each time, the minister said.

   Kim also said South Korea is preparing to launch a full-scale propaganda war against the North in response to any fresh provocations across the border.

   The South's military printed hundreds of thousands of leaflets and set up loudspeakers along the border after Seoul accused Pyongyang of sinking a South Korean warship in March that killed 46 sailors.

   A multinational investigation led by Seoul concluded in May that a torpedo fired from a North Korean submarine sank the 1,200-ton warship. North Korea has denied involvement.

   "We're preparing to send radios (into the North) so North Koreans can pick up and listen to the propaganda broadcasts from the South while also changing the radio waves from FM to AM," Kim said.

   "We will immediately turn on the loudspeakers and fly the leaflets along with radios" if there is a fresh provocation from the North and if a decision is made on the need to press Pyongyang, he said.

   Seoul would also consider installing electric message boards and more loudspeakers along the border, Kim said.

   Regarding North Korea's potential development of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) bombs, the minister said there are no signs that the country has one or is testing one.

   The weapon is designed to detonate high above the Earth's atmosphere, releasing huge amounts of energy, some of which is in the form of gamma rays. It is highly effective in destroying electronic devices such as computers, televisions and cars within a radius of 100 kilometers, according to experts.

   sshim@yna.co.kr
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