United States agrees to revise and boost South Korean missile defense capacity

Cheryl Sanders
September 4, 2017

The two leaders discussed the issue as a way to boost the South's defence against growing threat from North in a telephone call, South Korea's Blue House said.

Trump also gave "conceptual" approval to the purchase by the South of billions of dollars of US military hardware, the White House said.

North Korea has been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States and has recently threatened to land missiles near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

The Kim Jong-un regime has taken a jibe at the United States and its ally South Korea, saying any attempts by the "puppets" to locate North Korea's ballistic missile launchers will not produce any useful result.

Meanwhile, the US has been participating in joint military exercises with South Korea - an issue that has always been a frustration for Jong Un's regime and a reason used to justify its ongoing weapons programs.

Under a bilateral agreement with the United States, Seoul is now restricted to ballistic missiles with a maximum range of 800 kilometres (500 miles) and payload of 500 kilogrammes (1100 pounds).

Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command's Joint Intelligence Center, told CNN that revising the bilateral treaty would give the South Koreans a more independent deterrent capability, which they have wanted for years.

In response to the latest missile test by North Korea, U.S. and South Korean warplanes participated in a bombing drill near the border between North and South Korea.

Wednesday: Mixed messages from USA leadersUS Secretary of Defense James Mattis(L) and South Korea's Defense Minister Song Young-moo listen to their respective national anthems August 30, 2017 upon Young-moo's arrival at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

Moscow urged all sides involved to hold talks, which it said was the only way to resolve the Korean peninsula's problems.

Japan also raised the prospect of further sanctions, saying curbs on North Korea's oil trade would be on the table.

As North Korea's most important trading partner, the position of China - a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council - will be closely watched.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said "unilateral sanctions are not in line with the spirit of the (UN) Security Council resolutions, and there is no basis in global law for them, (therefore) Japan should not make a misjudgment".

Allowing South Korea to have longer range missiles could put pressure on China to exert influence over North Korea, Schuster said, because the Chinese will see that as creating a potential threat to them, too.

Britain's foreign minister Boris Johnson called the nuclear test "reckless" and a "provocation".

Other reports by iNewsToday