South Korea successfully test-fired a home-developed ballistic missile on 6 April 2017. The missile, with a range of 800 km is long enough to hit any part of North Korea. The development comes just a day after North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, which many dubbed as a warning ahead of US President Donald Trump’s meeting with China’s leader Xi Jinping.
North Korea’s increasingly rebellious nuclear weapons programme is reported to be one of the main points of discussion during the meeting. South Korea, which is home to thousands of American troops, falls under the US security umbrella. However, in 2012 it reached an agreement with the US to almost triple the range of its ballistic missile systems to protect itself against North Korea’s nuclear threats. The country has since then focussed on developing long-range missiles.
The latest missile, which has a range of around 800 km, could serve as a strong deterrent to North Korea’s antics. The country plans to set up the missile this year itself after conducting few more tests to determine its reliability. The new missile has the capacity to cover all of North Korea even when fired from the southern part of South Korea. Similar tests were carried out by the country in June 2016 as well when it successfully test-fired two home-developed missiles with a range of 500 kilometres and capacity of one tonne.