Seoul unveils new cruise missile to deter NK
By Kim Young-jin
Seoul said it has deployed a long-range cruise missile Thursday capable of reaching any part of North Korea, in a show of force following Pyongyang’s latest rocket launch.
Images released by the defense ministry showed a video clip of the test-launch of the missile.
Though the name of the indigenous missile was not disclosed Maj. Gen. Shin Won-sik said it “can immediately strike anywhere in North Korea.” Ministry officials said the missile has a range of over 1,000 kilometers.
President Lee Myung-bak, who viewed footage of the test launch during a visit to the Agency for Defense Development, the nation’s weapons development agency in Daejeon, underscored the need for preparedness against the North.
"If we are strong, North Korea cannot make provocations but if we are weak the North will provoke,” he said.
“To maintain peace, powerful (weapons) capabilities are required. These are not for the purposes of destruction but to achieve peace and deterring war.”
Officials also said the South has a new tactical ballistic missile with a range of up to 300 kilometers to deter the North.
Tensions are soaring over Pyongyang’s failed rocket launch last week that earned the North a U.N. Security Council statement deploring the act.
Experts warn that the fledgling regime of Kim Jong-un could attempt military provocations similar to those in 2010 to bolster his military credentials.
The deployed missiles are not included in a U.S.-South Korea pact that limits the range of Seoul’s ballistic missiles and their payload weight.
Adm. Samuel Locklear, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, said this week that the allies are considering "all options" to deter further North Korean provocations. Washington has 28,500 stationed troops here and extends its nuclear umbrella in case of war.
Seoul says the North has several hundred Scud missiles capable of hitting targets here. It is also believed to possess hundreds of mid-range Rodong missiles and has conducted three long-range missile tests.
The North significantly ratcheted up tension in 2010 with its sinking of the warship Cheonan and shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, attacks that killed a total of 50 South Koreans. Seoul has pledged a swift military response if Pyongyang attacks it again.