World Bulletin / News Desk
South Korea has reached a landmark agreement with the United States to extend the reach of Seoul's ballistic missiles by more than twice the current limit, the government said on Sunday.
The move to significantly boost the South's missile capabilities is likely to rattle the communist North which has remained at odds since the 1950-53 Korean War left the peninsula divided.
It may also stoke concern in China, Japan and Russia, parts of which would be within range of the new missiles.
Under the agreement, South Korea can develop missiles up to a range of 800 kms (497 mile) from the current ceiling of 300 kms (186 mile), Chun Young-woo, top secretary to President Lee Myung-bak for foreign and security affairs, told reporters.
He said the United States and South Korea also agreed to maintain the maximum payload for a South Korean-developed ballistic missile at the current level of 500 kilograms (1,102 lbs).
However, if Seoul chose to develop a missile with shorter ranges, it could increase the payload accordingly.
Seoul has for years sought to extend its missile range to deter the North.
"The most important goal for our government to revise the missile guidelines is deterring North Korea's military provocations," Chun said.
Currently, all of South Korea as well as U.S. military installations in Japan and Guam, are within the range of North Korean missile attacks, according to South Korean government claim.Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Ekim 2012, 10:23