World


Pentagon, S. Korea review missile size guidelines




Posted on August 09, 2017


WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon is working with South Korea to review guidelines governing the size of missile warheads Seoul can deploy, an official said Monday, setting the stage for the South to boost its missiles’ power.

This handout photo taken on July 29, and provided by South Korean Defense Ministry in Seoul shows US Army Tactical Missile System firing a missile into the East Sea from an undisclosed location on South Korea’s east coast during a South Korea-US joint missile drill aimed to counter North Korea’s ICBM test. -- AFP
Current guidelines limit the destructive capabilities of South Korea’s own missiles, but Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said the restrictions might be altered.

Under the current guidelines, last changed in 2012, South Korea can develop missiles up to a range of 800 km (497 miles) with a maximum payload of 500 kg (1,102 pounds).

“It is a topic under active consideration here and I would tell you that we would be favorably inclined to do anything which furthers the defensive capabilities of South Korea,” Mr. Davis told reporters.

“We have the ability to adapt and we will always adapt to the threat as it changes.”

The announcement comes a day after President Donald J. Trump and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-In spoke on the phone and agreed the North “poses a grave and growing direct threat,” according to a White House statement.

North Korea last month conducted two intercontinental ballistic missile tests, after which Mr. Kim boasted that he could now strike any part of the US.

The Pentagon did not immediately provide additional information on the warhead limits set forth in current guidelines.

An official said the guideline revisions were being coordinated in conjunction with the State Department.

The UN Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions against North Korea over the weekend that could cost Pyongyang $1 billion a year. -- AFP and Reuters