Missile that flies 800 km. to be ready in two years

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Missile that flies 800 km. to be ready in two years

The government said Thursday the military will complete development of a ballistic missile with an 800-kilometer (500-mile) range, which includes the entire territory of North Korea, and deploy it in the field by 2017.

It is first time a missile plan was made public after South Korea and the United States revised the South Korea Ballistic Missile Range Guidelines in October 2012 to extend South Korea’s possible missile range from 300 kilometers to 800 kilometers.

“The Agency for Defense Development [ADD] is currently developing ballistic missiles with an 800-kilometer range and will complete them by 2017 and they are known to have already made huge progress,” said an official of the government. “The Korean military already developed 500-kilometer missiles and deployed them in the field, and it’s only matter of time to extend that to 800 kilometers.”

The Ministry of National Defense and the ADD began developing 800-kilometer ballistic missiles right after the pact with the U.S. was revised. The Hyunmoo-2B, with a 500-kilometer range, was developed last year and President Park Geun-hye attended a test firing at the ADD in June 2014.

With the 800-kilometer missiles, South Korea can strike Sinuiju, a city in the far northwest of North Korea, from Jeju Island and Mount Baekdu from Busan. From Gyeryongdae in South Chungcheong, the missiles can reach the northeastern tip of North Korea.

That also means that South Korea’s missiles can be fired from rear areas out of range of the North’s multiple rocket launchers.

“Ballistic missiles are much more destructive than cruise missiles because they’re faster and can carry bigger warheads,” said the official. “It will be an effective means of deterring the North’s use of nuclear weapons and missiles.

Seoul’s deterring capacity over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapon is expected to get even stronger when the Global Hawk, an unmanned surveillance aircraft, is adopted in 2018.

“The Global Hawk is a great information collecting asset, which is also called a flying satellite,” said a military official.

“If North Korea shows signs of using nuclear weapons and missiles against South Korea, we will be able to take pre-emptive actions to neutralize those efforts.”

BY JEONG YONG-SOO AND KIM BONG-MOON [kim.bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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