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.
Exclusive: World’s most pristine waters are polluted by US Navy human waste
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Any terrorist seizure of the plane ‘would have required one hell of a piece of planning’
Croatia's second city to close 'worst zoo in the world' after reports of 'nightmare' conditions and 'depressed' animals
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Hijackers, pirates or suicide – the theories surrounding the mystery
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Q&A by Simon Calder: How far could it have travelled? Who was responsible and what could their plans have been? And how can a plane just vanish?
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Exclusive: World’s most pristine waters are polluted by US Navy human waste
- 3 Nemanja Matic interview: My family were in tears when we left Lisbon
- 4 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Jet ‘hijacking’ began soon after take-off
- 5 'Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle!' Viral Facebook links are profiting hackers
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Charter Selection: This well respected and exciting...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting company and market...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + EXCELLENT SALARY: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Cli...
£25,000 to £35,000: IT Connections Ltd: Signal Processing Engineer / Acoustics...