Seoul test-fires missile that can hit any part of North

SEOUL • South Korea has successfully test-fired a home-developed ballistic missile with a range long enough to hit any part of North Korea, the Yonhap news agency reported yesterday.

The news of the test-firing came a day after the North fired its own ballistic missile into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan.

Yonhap reported that South Korean and American military officials were apparently struggling to determine the exact type of ballistic missile that North Korea fired earlier on Wednesday.

US officials said the missile appeared to be a liquid-fuelled, extended-range Scud missile that travelled only a fraction of its range before spinning out of control and crashing into the sea.

But earlier, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said it was "a type of KN-15 intermediate-range ballistic missile".

South Korea is protected under an American security umbrella and is home to thousands of US troops.

In 2012, it reached an agreement with the US to almost triple the range of its ballistic missile systems to guard against the North's nuclear threats, and has since been developing missiles with longer ranges.

Citing a high-ranking government official, Yonhap said the South's missile with a range of 800km could serve as a strong deterrent to Pyongyang.

"The test-firing was successful," the official was quoted as saying.

A Defence Ministry spokesman declined to comment.

The South plans to deploy the new missile this year following further tests to determine its reliability, Yonhap said. The new missile could cover all of North Korea, even when fired from the southern part of the country, it said.

In June last year, the South successfully test-fired two home- developed missiles capable of carrying a one-tonne payload up to 500km.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2017, with the headline 'Seoul test-fires missile that can hit any part of North'. Print Edition | Subscribe