US and South Korea Agree to Extend Missile Range

After years of negotiation, South Korea and the United States have reached an agreement in support of extending the reach of the South’s ballistic missiles.  Under this agreement, Seoul will be allowed to deploy ballistic missiles with a range of 800 kilometers bringing all of North Korea within striking range of the South’s missile arsenal.

Under a 1979 agreement between the two allies, revised later in 2001, South Korean ballistic missiles were limited to a range not to exceed 300 kilometers and a maximum weapon’s payload of 500 kilograms.  Successive American administrations had sought to restrict Seoul’s ballistic missile capabilities in keeping with limitations outlined in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a voluntary international accord designed to limit a burgeoning proliferation of advanced missile technology.

The restrictive provisions of the 2001 agreement placed South Korea in an inferior position compared to North Korean missile capabilities, a situation that has caused Seoul considerable unease as Pyongyang continued an unrelenting policy of modernizing the capabilities of the North’s military force.

North Korea’s ruling regime has successfully developed a ballistic missile arsenal capable of reaching any location in the South and all US military facilities in Japan and Guam.  In contrast, some key military sites in the North were previously out of range of South Korea’s ballistic missiles limiting the South’s ability to deliver a decisive retaliatory strike should hostilities once again erupt between the two Korean Peninsula rivals.

 

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