News / Asia

S. Korea to Boost Missiles Arsenal

A cruise missile made by South Korea is seen after being launched during a test at an undisclosed location, in this picture released by South Korea's Defense Ministry in Seoul, April 19, 2012.
A cruise missile made by South Korea is seen after being launched during a test at an undisclosed location, in this picture released by South Korea's Defense Ministry in Seoul, April 19, 2012.
SEOUL - Amid a perceived increased threat from North Korea, the military of South Korea intends to put a significantly larger number of missiles into its arsenal in the years ahead.

South Korea officials confirm plans are underway to increase spending on missile development.

Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok says this is part of an ongoing process to strengthen the country's military.

Enhanced response capability

Kim says it is necessary for South Korea to establish a response capability with more missiles to respond to North Korea's asymmetric threats, which include missiles.

South Korean officials will not confirm specific figures in terms of spending and the number of missiles.

Local media reports Tuesday say the Defense Ministry is requesting more than $2 billion over the next five years for missile development.

The request reportedly was submitted to President Lee Myung-bak at a meeting on fiscal policy on April 28. That was just days after South Korea's military revealed it had a new cruise missile capable of hitting any target in North Korea.

Analysts say South Korea's military wants to build hundreds of Hyunmu-2 ballistic missiles, with a 300 kilometer range, and Hyunmu-3 series of cruise missiles with a range of between 500 and 1,500 kilometers.

The arsenal would be capable, in the early stages of a war, of neutralizing nuclear weapons and long-range missiles in North Korea, along with Pyongyang's command facilities, air force bases and suspected biochemical weapons facilities.

Increased threats

Intelligence and defense analysts say the impoverished North has clandestine weapons programs, illegal under international sanctions, ultimately tasked with placing a nuclear weapon atop a ballistic missile.

Despite several missile launches and underground nuclear tests over the past six years, most analysts contend North Korea is still a long way from achieving that goal.

North Korea on Tuesday warned its nuclear program will continue if the United States continues to ratchet up sanctions and pressure on it.  But the statement, carried by Pyongyang's central news agency, and attributed to an unidentified foreign ministry spokesman, also said the country is open to dialog to resolve the standoff.

A defense analyst for IHS Jane’s publications reports satellite images taken in the past month show heightened excavation activity at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site.

The activity comes amid fresh warnings to Pyongyang from Seoul, Washington and Tokyo that it should not conduct further provocations, such as an underground nuclear detonation.

Since North Korea's failed rocket launch on April 13 there has been increasing speculation the reclusive country will conduct such a test. Its previous nuclear tests, in 2006 and 2009, followed what North Korea characterized as space launches.

Western nations have alleged the launches are being used by North Korea to improve ballistic missile technology that could eventually be used to attack other countries, including the United States.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: paul
May 23, 2012 4:37 AM
I am wandering where from has North Korea all the money for those military programs?
There are years since we hear that "North Korea is an impoverished country" and "they don't have enough money to buy food for the population".
Ok..if their industry is so low and they don't export, where from they have the money to buy nuclear materials?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid