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US Agrees to South Korea Request to Build Up Missiles

Image: US Agrees to South Korea Request to Build Up Missiles
(AP)

By    |   Saturday, 29 Jul 2017 02:52 PM

National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster on Saturday agreed to a request from his counterpart in South Korea to start negotiations allowing South Korea to build up its missile capabilities to help counteract North Korea's growing missile tests and technology, the office of South Korea President Moon Jae-in reports.

The call came after North Korea's launch of an intercontinental missile with the capability of reaching the West Coast and even potentially Chicago or New York, reports The New York Times. 

Chung Eui-yong called McMaster early Saturday, based on Seoul time,  to make the proposal, and the general agreed to a plan that will likely increase the payload used on South Korean ballistic missiles. South Korea must first get the approval of the United States before building stronger missiles because of the terms contained in a bilateral treaty, notes The Times.

Moon also Saturday ordered his government's cooperation with the United States for the installation of the THAAD (terminal high altitude area defense ) advanced American missile defense battery. Its deployment had been suspended. Japan is also considering the purchase of U.S. ballistic missile defense systems.

China, however, opposes THAAD in South Korea, saying it will spur tensions with its neighbor to the north, and on Saturday condemned the deployment.

Saturday, Moon called for further deterrence actions while stressing the value of its alliance with the United States.

South Korea is hoping to build missiles that would deliver more powerful payloads to North Korean targets, but under the treaty with the United States, dating back to the 1970s, it can build missiles that can go up to 497 miles but can only top them with warheads weighing less than half a ton. However, South Korea wants to double that limit, allowing warheads to weigh up to a ton.

On Friday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States will never accept a North Korea that is armed with nuclear weapons. Further, Washington is pushing for China and Russia to agree with sanctions against North Korea that could curtail the country's access to oil supplies.

"As the principal economic enablers of North Korea’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development program, China and Russia bear unique and special responsibility for this growing threat to regional and global stability," Tillerson said.

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National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster on Saturday agreed to a request from his counterpart in South Korea to start negotiations allowing South Korea to build up its missile capabilities to help counteract North Korea's growing missile tests and technology, the office...
south korea, missiles, agree
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2017-52-29
Saturday, 29 Jul 2017 02:52 PM
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