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South Korea Extending Ballistic Missile Range to Counter North's Threat
Apr 12, 2014

South Korea has successfully test-fired a new ballistic missile with a range of 500 km (310 miles) and will try to extend the range to 800 km so it can strike any site in North Korea, days after Pyongyang fired a mid-range missile. The new missiles are intended to counter the threat from North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes, but the move is likely to rattle the North Korea, hit with U.N. sanctions for its own missile tests.

South Korea adopted a voluntary ban on developing ballistic missiles with a range of more than 300 km, under an agreement with the United States, but the allies agreed in 2012 to allow the South to develop 800 km-range missiles.The new missiles will be used to strike the North Korea's weapons and military installations in the furthest part of the country from anywhere in the South if needed.

Recently, North Korea fired a mid-range ballistic Rodongmissile that fell into the sea off its east coast after flying about 650 km and short of its maximum range, thought to be about 1,300 km, and enough to hit much of Japan. North Korea also fired more than 500 rounds of artillery into the sea off its west coast near a disputed maritime border in the latest sabre-rattling under its young leader Kim Jong Un, who has vowed to build nuclear weapons. More than 100 rounds landed in the waters of the South, prompting it to fire back more than 300 rounds into the North's waters.

South Korea is also investigating two drones that crashed near its border with the North Korea which it believes were flown by Pyongyang. One was recovered with evidence of having flown directly over the South Korea's presidential palace.

Although the North Korea has one of the world's largest standing armies, much of its equipment consists of antiquated Soviet-era designs. It has focused resources on developing nuclear and long-range missile programmes.


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