Eye on North, US allows S Korea to ‘triple ballistic missiles range'

Seoul: South Korea has reportedly announced plans to almost triple the range of its ballistic missile system after a new agreement with the United States.

South Korea had been restricted to missiles with a range of 300 km under a previous security deal.

The deal was revised after neighbour North Korea tested a long-range rocket launch in April.

Now the whole of the North, along with parts of China and Japan, will be within South Korea''s new 800km range, the BBC reports.

It will also allow South Korea to triple the payload from 500kg for missiles over shorter distances, the report said.

The report quoted a spokeswoman for South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, as saying that there was no imminent change of strategy, but the new agreement was a political symbol of the strong alliance with the US and a deterrent to Pyongyang.

Another South Korean official reportedly said that ‘the biggest purpose of the revision is curbing military provocations by North Korea’.