South Korean leader observes missile test

Four more launchers were delivered to a US military base near Seongju, but it was not reported to President Moon Jae-in, who later ordered a thorough investigation into the unreported transportation.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, second from right, watches a test launch of the Hyunmoo-2 missile at the Agency for Defense Development in Anheung, South Korea, Friday, June 23, 2017. Medium- and small-sized enterprises accounted for more than two-thirds of companies on the list.

The distance the missile flew has not been confirmed, but a test of the same missile in April showed that the range could be up to 800 kilometers, covering nearly all of North Korea even from the southern-most part of the peninsula.

"The president said 'I'm all for dialogue but dialogue is only possible when supported by strong defense capabilities and engagement policy vis-a-vis North Korea is also only possible when we maintain security capabilities strong enough to dominate the North'".

As that threat by the North has increased, South Korea has also sought to strengthen its capabilities, particularly after the United States agreed in 2012 to let it possess ballistic missiles with a range of up to 497 miles as long as the payload did not exceed 500 kilograms, about half a ton.

"Our people will feel proud and safe after seeing that our missile capability doesn't trail North Korea's", Moon said, according to his spokesman, Park Soo-hyun.

Seoul's top office explained that Friday's launch accurately hit its target marking the fourth successful test out of the six required for the military to field the new ballistic missile.

North Korean missile tests present a hard challenge for Moon.

North Korea has tested several new missile systems this year in an accelerated effort to strengthen its nuclear weapons and missiles program.

The missile is part of South Korea's "Kill Chain" strike system, which is created to neutralize attacks from the North. The North also conducted two nuclear tests previous year alone as it openly pursues a long-range nuclear missile that could reach the USA mainland. After the revision of a previous agreement, South Korea was allowed to develop a missile with a range of up to 800 kilometers.

  • Leroy Wright