South Korea has reached an agreement with the United States to extend the range of its ballistic missiles to more that double the current limit.
Seoul could now develop a missile with a range of up to 800km, up from the current limit of 300km.
South Korea’s national security advisor, Chun Yung-Woo, said the move is a reaction to perceived threats from its neighbour to the North:
“The most important reason why our government has revised the missile guideline is to deter North Korea’s provocations. If North Korea launches an armed attack or provokes us, we will disable their nuclear weapons capability at an early stage.”
According to South Korean government data the whole country as well as US military installations in Japan and Guam are vulnerable to missile attack from the North.
In April, the UN security council condemned North Korea for an attempted long range rocket launch which was deemed to be a disguised test for an upgrade in ballistic missile technology, although Pyongyang claimed it was aimed at putting a satellite into orbit for peaceful purposes.
The increase in South Korea’s missile range may not only rattle the communist North, but could also disturb China, Japan and Russia as parts of all three countries will now be in range of the new missiles.