South Korea will purchase precision-guided missiles from Israel in order to upgrade its defense of islands which are vulnerable to attacks from North Korea.
The Yonhap news agency reported that about fifty such weapons will be deployed on two islands near the border of North Korea.
However, a report in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said as many as 67 missiles will be placed on the islands.
Last November, four South Koreans -- comprising two civilian and two military personnel -- were killed on the island of Yeonpyeong when North Korea fired artillery at it.
Yeonpyeong lies in the Yellow Sea west of the Korean Peninsula close to the disputed sea border.
The other island to be protected is Baengnyeong further to the west -- in March 2010, 46 South Koreans died when a warship sank nearby. (North Korea denied it was responsible for the sinking).
Since the November attacks, Seoul has beefed up its military presence on both islands after criticism that the government did not respond adequately to the November provocation.
The Israeli missiles use GPS technology and may be used to target North Korean artillery hidden in caves across the border. Yonhap said the missiles should be deployed by the end of the 2011.
The Israeli firm which will sell the missiles, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, said the rockets can fly up to 15 miles and hit hidden targets.
According to Haaretz, the deal with South Korea is valued at $43-million.
North and South Korea technically remain at war almost sixty years after the end of the Korean War.