According to the Mainichi Daily News (February 29, 2012):
North Korea has deployed an improved, longer-range version of its 240 mm multiple rocket launcher….North Korea spent several years trying to improve the rocket launchers and has now completed the work. To test the upgraded version, it reportedly imported 300 mm shells from Russia and test-fired them for years off the west coast.
These new rocket launchers may have a range of 120 kms putting Seoul well within range. Why are they doing it?
“North Korea is probably trying to threaten South Korea and the U.S. by making the rocket launchers public and use them as a propaganda material at home and abroad on Kim Il Sung’s centennial.”
While the North is moving their long-range missiles forward, peace groups in the South are sending socks by balloons to the North.
North Korea Peace is made up of activists from all over the world. On the last Saturday of every month, the organization launches several balloons across the border, a box of socks attached to each one.
The boxes are tied with string, which is attached to a timer. After three hours of travel, the timer releases the string, sending thousands of socks tumbling to North Korean ground.
Once found, the socks can be worn or sold. Socks are a rare and valuable commodity in North Korea, where many have lost toes or feet due to improper protection against the cold. The market value of a pair of socks in North Korea is $10, which is equivalent to 10 kg—or one month’s worth—of corn.
I have to admit, I do agree with them on this point:
There is also suspicion that funds sent to North Korea for relief have been used for government and military spending, said Bengtson. South Korea sent $6 billion to their neighboring nation, but a survey of North Korean defectors revealed that few had heard of the money and none had seen it.
“Blindly sending aid is not the answer,” said Bengtson.
No truer words spoken.