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Japan Wary Of North Korea’s Recently Deployed Planes, Missiles

June 17, 1988

TOKYO (AP) _ Japan is concerned about North Korea’s deployment of surface-to-air missiles and jet fighters near the border with South Korea just a few months before the Olympic Games, a Japanese defense official said today.

The deployment of the Soviet-made SA-5 missiles near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas means the weapons can strike planes at Seoul’s international airport, the Defense Agency official said.

″This is happening just before the Olympic Games start, and is dangerous,″ said the official. He spoke with foreign reporters on condition his name not be used.

The Summer Olympics are scheduled to be played in Seoul from Sept. 17 to Oct. 2.

North Korea has demanded to co-host the Olympics, and authorities say the communist regime in Pyongyang may try to disrupt the games through terrorism.

The Japanese official said the missiles, with a range of 186 miles, can hit aircraft at Seoul’s Kimpo Airport, which is 20 miles from the demilitarized zone.

The deployment of the SA-5s as well as Soviet-made Sukhoi-25 jet fighters near the DMZ was ″comparatively recent,″ the official said. He said he did not know exactly when they were put in place or how many there were.

The Su-25 is a fixed-wing fighter used for low-level support. It is known in the West as the ″Frogfoot.″

The Korean peninsula was divided in the communist north and the pro-Western south in 1945. The two sides fought the Korean War from 1950-53.

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