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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid