South Korea Tests Longer-Range Ballistic Missile in Signal to North

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Global Security Newswire Staff
April 4, 2014, 6:05 a.m.

South Korea on Fri­day an­nounced the suc­cess­ful test-launch of a new bal­list­ic mis­sile with a longer range than any oth­er high-alti­tude pro­jectile in its ar­sen­al.

The new mis­sile is cap­able of trav­el­ing as far as 310 miles, Re­u­ters re­por­ted. South Korea de­veloped the new mis­sile un­der a 2012 agree­ment with the United States that per­mits Seoul to do­mest­ic­ally pro­duce bal­list­ic mis­siles with ranges close to 500 miles.

Seoul’s mis­sile de­clar­a­tion fol­low’s North Korea’s test-fir­ing last week of two me­di­um-range bal­list­ic mis­siles that are cap­able of hit­ting all parts of South Korea and Ja­pan, as well as some areas in China and Rus­sia.

In an­noun­cing the suc­cess­ful test-flight of the mis­sile, South Korean de­fense min­istry spokes­man Kim Min-seok said the mil­it­ary also was fo­cus­ing on pro­du­cing mis­siles with the max­im­um range per­mit­ted un­der the U.S.-South Korea ac­cord.

The longer-range bal­list­ic mis­siles are in­ten­ded to per­mit the launch­ing of strikes from any­where in South Korea on all areas of North Korea, par­tic­u­larly its stra­tegic as­sets and mil­it­ary posts, said Kim, in­dic­at­ing that the new weapons were in­ten­ded as a re­sponse to Py­ongy­ang’s nuc­le­ar and mis­sile ef­forts.

An uniden­ti­fied mil­it­ary of­fi­cial told the Yon­hap News Agency that the mis­sile fired in the March 23 test “ac­cur­ately hit the in­ten­ded tar­get.”

Once the 310-mile mis­sile is fielded, the de­fense min­istry will test-launch the 500-mile range mis­sile in 2015, the of­fi­cial said.