South Korea test-fires medium-range ballistic missile

Seoul, June 3 (IANS) South Korea’s military test-fired a 500-km range ballistic missile with President Park Geun-hye observing the launch, the presidential office said on Wednesday.

Park visited the Anheung firing range in southwest South Korea for the first time in 30 years in the capacity of the head of state, Xinhua news agency reported.

The state-run Agency for Defence Development (ADD) test-launched the ballistic missile, named Hyunmoo-2B, with a range of more than 500 km that covers all areas of the Korean Peninsula.

The successful development of the medium-range ballistic missile came about two-and-a-half years after the US and South Korea revised guidelines on ballistic missiles in October 2012.

Under the guidelines revision, South Korea was allowed to expand the range of missiles from 300 km to 800 km. The ADD is reportedly developing a ballistic missile with a range of 800 km.

The newly-developed 500-km missiles are expected to be deployed at military bases under the army’s missile command by the end of this year.

If deployed, the missiles would strike nuclear and missile bases of North Korea in emergency situations as part of the Kill Chain and the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) systems, which the South Korean military is building as its own missile defence programme.

The test-firing of missiles came after North Korea recently announced its capability of miniaturising nuclear warheads small enough to be mounted onto ballistic missiles.

Pyongyang has reportedly deployed Scud missiles with a range of 300-550 km, Rodong missiles ranging from 1,000 km to 1,300 km, and Musudan missiles with a range of about 3,000 km.

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