According to an announcement, Seoul has successfully test-fired a missile capable of striking any part of North Korea.
Officials claim that the domestically built ballistic missile was fired from a southern launch pad. The test is the latest development in the ongoing rivalry between North and South Korea concerning Pyongyang’s desire to improve its nuclear and missile capabilities, writes Hyung-Jin Kim for the Associated Press.
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Missile development sign of tension in the Korean Peninsula
An official from South Korea’s Defense Ministry, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Kim of the launch. President Park Geun-hye also observed the test.
Seoul also tested another missile capable of intercepting enemy missiles, according to the defense official. North Korea did not immediately respond to news of the tests. Pyongyang has previously hit out and joint military drills between South Korea and the U.S., claiming that they are evidence that the two allies are preparing to invade North Korea.
An agreement between Seoul and Washington was signed in 2012, allowing the South to have longer-range missiles in order to deter nuclear and missile threats from the North.
North Korea claims significant progress in missile program
Pyongyang recently claimed to have test-fired a missile from a submarine, provoking security worries in the South. These claims were later questioned by experts who believe that photos of the launch had been digitally edited.
However North Korea’s repeated claims that it has successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead are more worrying. Although foreign analysts remain skeptical as to whether the technology is fully functional, they do agree that Pyongyang has made significant progress in its nuclear missile program.
Talks regarding the program remain at an impasse and the situation continues to deteriorate. In 2001, South Korea signed an accord with the U.S. preventing it from deploying ballistic missiles that could hit targets over 186 miles away due to concerns over an arms race in the region. However a 2012 deal allowed for the development of missiles with a range of up to 500 miles.
North and South Korea are officially still at war due to the fact that the 1950-53 Korean War was ended by an armistice and not a full peace treaty. The U.S. has a strong relationship with the South, and has approximately 28,500 troops in the country to act as a deterrent against aggression from the North.