South Korea extends missile range under deal with US

 

South Korea said yesterday that it would nearly triple the range of its ballistic missiles, allowing it to strike all parts of North Korea and a sliver of China, under a new deal with the United States.

The bilateral agreement, coming after nearly two years of negotiations, frees Seoul to develop and use significantly more muscular missile technology at a time of steady concern about the belligerent North.

Conservatives here had bristled for years that Seoul was unable to even approach the North's ballistic missile range, but Washington and others in the region have long used weapons-limiting pacts to prevent an arms race.

Under the new deal, South Korea can now extend the range of its ballistic missiles to 800 kilometers (497 miles), up from the previous 300 kilometers (186 miles). That means that the South can conceivably strike even the northernmost tip of North Korea, as well as parts of northeast China. The previous restrictions were part of the voluntary multi-nation Missile Technology Control Regime, which Seoul entered in 2001.

In addition, the deal allows greater load weights for South Korean unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones. Such vehicles are commonly used for surveillance but could also be used in combat.

Security experts in Seoul say this deal takes a modest step to close the technology gap with the North, an authoritarian police state that devotes as much as one-quarter of its gross national product to the military. In recent years the North has attempted to launch several satellites, which are attached to rockets that employ long-range missile technology.

The latest launch, in April, ended in failure, with the Unha-3 rocket breaking up after about 90 seconds of flight. But former U.S. defense secretary Robert Gates said last year that the North could develop intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of striking the United States by 2016.

"The most important purpose of revising the missile guideline lies in deterring armed provocations by North Korea," Chun Yung-woo, South Korean national security adviser, said Sunday in a briefing for reporters.

The North had no immediate reaction to the new agreement.

The agreement was spurred in part because the South, in 2015, will become responsible for operational control during a war on the peninsula. The deal reverses the current agreement, in place since the end of the Korean War, which gives the United States full command of all joint war operations.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak referred to the change late last month, when he called on the South to develop a more "agile and efficient" military ready for a high-tech war "based on science and technology."

"In preparation for the return of wartime operational control, the Korean Armed Forces must bolster combined defense abilities under its initiative," Lee said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...