‘S Korea-US talks over missile range extension in final stages’
Seoul: South Korean foreign minister Kim Sung-hwan said Friday talks with the United States over allowing Seoul to build ballistic missiles of longer range are in their final stages.
"The government is engaged in negotiations with a goal of enhancing our missile capability to deter North Korea (DPRK)'s missile threats," the minister told the parliament during its audit session.
The missile pact between Seoul and Washington, struck in 1979 and revised in 2001, limits the firing range of South Korean missiles to 300 kilometers and their payload to 500 kilograms.
South Korea has called for a revision of the accord so it can develop missiles capable of striking all parts of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), which possesses some 800 ballistic missiles and 1,000 missiles of various ranges.
The DPRK's intermediate-range ballistic missiles with a range of 3,000 kilometers can strike the entire Korean peninsula as well as US military installations in Japan and Guam, according to government data.
Recent media reports said Seoul and Washington have reached a tentative agreement to allow Seoul to extend its ballistic missile range to 800 kilometers and keep the payload unchanged.