7 Oct 2012

South Korea signs major missile deal

9:45 pm on 7 October 2012

South Korea has announced a deal with the United States to almost triple the range of its ballistic missile system, saying this will counter the threat from North Korea.

The whole of the North, along with parts of China and Japan, will be within South Korea's new 800km range.

South Korea had been restricted to missiles with a range of 300km under a previous security deal.

It was revised after North Korea tested a long-range rocket launch in April.

The US has more than 28,000 troops in South Korea and provides security guarantees for its ally.

A spokesperson for President Lee Myung-bak said there was no imminent change of strategy, but the new agreement was a political symbol of the strong alliance with the US and a deterrent to Pyongyang.

"The biggest purpose of the revision is curbing military provocations by North Korea," said another official, National Security Adviser Chun Yung-woo.