South Korea develops new long-range ballistic missile
The South Korean Defence Ministry has developed a new long-range ballistic missile to boost its defences against North Korean missile threats, an unnamed South Korea military official has revealed.
The missile, with a range of 500km and a 1t payload, was successfully test-fired by the state-funded Agency for Defense Development (ADD), at a testing range in Taean, South Chungcheong Province late last month, Yonhap News Agency reports.
An official said: "The missiles accurately hit the intended target."
The test launch of the missile, which is scheduled to be deployed in 2015, follows the firing of a series of short-range rockets and mid-range missiles by Pyongyang in the last few weeks, which was in response to the ongoing annual joint-military drills between South Korea and the US.
South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok was quoted by the news agency as saying that the missile development forms part of follow-up measures after the revision of missile guidelines by South Korea and the US.
"We are now developing 500km ballistic missiles and plan to make 800km missiles in the future," Min-seok said.
Signed in 1979, the bilateral missile pact saw the US assist in missile technology development, but limited the South Korean ballistic missile range to 180km. However, this was revised in October 2012 to extend the range from the existing 300km to 800km, with a maximum payload of 500kg.
This also enabled Seoul, which currently operates Hyunmoo ballistic missiles with a range of 300km, to develop heavier payloads for short-range missiles.