Seoul (UPI) Jan 20, 2011
South Korea and the United States have been in talks to revise a bilateral pact that could allow for Seoul's bid to make missiles capable of landing anywhere in North Korea.
The revelation was made by a state agency report citing government sources.
The move comes amid swelling calls to increase the country's missile capability to counter North Korean missile threats.
It also comes on the heels of remarks by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressing serious concerns over North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile program.
South Korea and the United States stage regular exercises with their combined forces. But the recent drills have come in the wake of North Korea shelling a South Korean island and the sinking of a South Korean warship in which 46 sailors were killed. Pyongyang is suspected to have been responsible for the sinking.
Under a 2001 agreement with the United States, South Korea restricts its missile capability to a range of about 186 miles and a payload of around 200 pounds to meet guideline of the Missile Technology Control Regime.
As the regime only applies to high-velocity, free-flight ballistic missiles, the South Korean military has instead deployed slower, surface-skimming cruise missiles with ranges of between 620 to more than 800 miles.
"As the talks are still at an early stage, it is too early to say how long the missile range could be extended," the Seoul government source was quoted saying in a report the South Korean News Agency. "But there is a need to extend it beyond 1,000 kilometers (621 miles)."
It is understood that North Korea has developed intermediate-range missiles capable of traveling up to 1,800 miles.
An estimated 28,500 U.S. troops are based in South Korea to deter potential aggression from North Korea.
Although the Korean War ended in 1953, the countries haven't signed a peace agreement, remaining divided by one of the world's most fortified borders.
Relations between North and South have soured since the sinking of the warship late last year.
During a five-day tour to South Korea, China and Japan last week, Gates said North Korea was becoming a direct threat to the United States, forecasting that the North was on the way to developing intercontinental ballistic missiles within five years.
"I think that North Korea will have developed an intercontinental ballistic missile within that time frame," Gates told reporters. But he said he doubted if the North will be able to field many ICBMs, saying, "I believe they will have a very limited capability."
U.S. officials are cautious about the missile talks because they may spark a backlash from China and Japan and North Korea, also.
North Korea is believed to have more than 600 Scud missiles with a range of 200 to 310 miles and 200 Rodongs with a range of 800 miles.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
All about missiles at SpaceWar.com
Taiwan missile tests not meant as messages
Taipei, Taiwan (UPI) Jan 19, 2011
Taiwan said its missile launches on the eve of the Chinese state visit to the United States weren't meant as a message to Washington. Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said he was "not happy" with the results of a major air defense missile test at a base in Pingtung County and in which six of the missiles failed to find their targets. Regardless of the success rate, there was no m ... read more
Romania wants to finalize talks on US missile shield in 2011|
Iron Dome delayed again amid war fears
LM Missile Defense Programs Led Ballistic Missile Defense Efforts In 2010
Israel Nears Completion Of New Missile Alert System
Kuwait Awards Contract To Raytheon For Patriot GEM-T Missiles
LockMart Receives Contract For Long Range Anti-Ship Missile Demonstrations
S. Korea, U.S in talks over missiles
Iran test Hawk missiles
Three US drone strikes kill 13 in Pakistan
Gray Eagle UAS Program Expanding
Israel to sell Brazil air force drones
IAI delivers 12 UAVs to Russia in key deal
RAF Begin Training With US On Intelligence Aircraft
Joint STARS Successfully Supports JSuW JCTD
JICO Support System Receives Production Approval
Northrop Grumman Demonstrates MR-TCDL Capabilities
2000th Production Viper Laser Will Be Delivered Ahead-of-Schedule
Raytheon Signs Paveway Contract With Saudi Arabia
Boeing Begins Flight Testing UK Chinook Mk4
Boeing And SAIC Submit Revised Ground Combat Vehicle Proposal To US Army
IMB wary of military-style rescues
Raytheon Opens New Facility At Aberdeen Proving Ground
Under-fire defence minister promises German military probe
Germany rocked by defense scandals
China media declares Hu US trip 'historic masterstroke'
France rallies China, Russia for G20 reform drive
US radio host criticized for Hu mockery
Unbowed China leader warns US
US Office Of Naval Research Achieves Milestone
Navy test fires electromagnetic cannon
Joint High Power Solid State Laser Keeps Lasing And Lasing
Boeing Installing Beam Control System On HEL Laser Demonstrator
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|