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S. Korea defenseless against N. Korean electronic attack
SEOUL, Sept. 20 (Yonhap) -- Major military facilities in South Korea, including the defense ministry, are defenseless against potential North Korean electronic attacks, reports showed Tuesday.

   According to the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) and the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), no technology exists in South Korea that can fend off electromagnetic pulse (EMP) bombs from North Korea. The two agencies submitted reports to Grand National Party (GNP) lawmaker Chung Mee-kyung during the annual parliamentary audit into defense agencies.

   EMP bombs are known to jam and damage high-tech defense systems, such as radars and communication networks.

   The defense ministry and the new headquarters for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), currently under construction, are supposed to be protected from EMP attacks, but reports said they can only defend less-damaging electromagnetic interference (EMI).

   The ADD and DAPA said they will try to develop core defense technologies for key military facilities against EMP bombs over the next four years.

   Earlier this month, in a separate report to the parliament, the defense ministry had said the North could soon be developing EMP bombs, "given the rate of the North's development of new electronic devices and EMP development in other countries."

   According to Chung, a local construction company had initially signed a 17.8 billion won ($US 15.6 million) deal with the defense ministry to install EMP protection facilities at the new JCS headquarters, but the company further subcontracted to a smaller firm at 13.4 billion won.

   And the defense ministry didn't confirm the subcontractor's capabilities to defend against EMP attacks, Chung added.

   "Major military facilities, which will be used as a wartime command center for the president, the defense minister and other key officials, will be helpless against North Korean electronic offensives," Chung said. "We have to prepare measures so that our defense against EMPs at the new JCS headquarters and other places can meet higher global standards."

   jeeho@yna.co.kr
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