South Korea Developing Missile As Powerful As Nuclear Weapon - Report
By Staff, Agencies
South Korea is in the final stages of developing a surface-to-surface ballistic missile as powerful as a tactical nuclear warhead, Yonhap news agency reported, as the country unveiled budget proposals aimed at bolstering its defenses against North Korea.
According to the report published on Thursday, the new weapon can carry a warhead of up to three tons with a flight range of 350 to 400 km.
The missile is designed to destroy underground missile facilities and bases by penetrating underground tunnels to effectively nullify nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missiles [ICBMs] ahead of their launches. The report said it can also reach all areas of North Korea if fired from around the inter-Korean border.
The project went ahead after the full lifting of US-imposed restrictions on missile development.
“We will develop stronger, longer-range and more precise missiles so as to exercise deterrence and achieve security and peace on the Korean Peninsula,” the South Korean government said in a statement.
In its defense blueprint for 2022 to 2026, the defense ministry said it would develop new missiles “with significantly enhanced destructive power”, upgrade missile defense systems and deploy new interceptors against long-range artillery.
The missile would be the latest in a tit-for-tat conventional missile race between the two Koreas.
In 2020, South Korea announced its new Hyunmoo-4 short-range ballistic missile [SRBM] could carry a 2-tonne warhead, while in March North Korea tested an SRBM that it said could deliver a 2.5-tonne payload. The Hyunmoo-4 is South Korea’s largest missile.
“Following the termination of the guidelines, we will exercise deterrence against potential threats and improve strike capabilities against main targets,” the defense ministry statement said.
Before the decade is out, Asia will be bristling with conventional missiles that fly farther and faster, hit harder, and are more sophisticated than ever before – a stark and dangerous change from recent years, analysts, diplomats, and military officials have said.