US-South Korea deal

Warhead weight limit lifted

SEOUL • South Korean President Moon Jae In and his US counterpart Donald Trump agreed yesterday to scrap a warhead weight limit on South Korea's missiles in the wake of North Korea's sixth nuclear test, South Korea's presidential office said.

In a separate phone call yesterday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Moon said the UN Security Council should seek ways to sever North Korea's foreign currency income, including from its workers employed abroad and oil shipments.

Under the existing missile pact between the United States and South Korea, Seoul's warheads currently face a cap of 500kg.

The agreement, last amended in 2012, was in the process of being changed in the wake of a series of missile tests by North Korea this year after Mr Moon took office in May, including two intercontinental ballistic missile launches. An unlimited warhead weight allowance would enable South Korea to strike the North with greater force in the event of a military conflict.

The missiles would still be bound by a flight-range cap of 800km. No changes to the flight range were mentioned in the Blue House statement.

The two presidents made the decision in a phone call, the Blue House said. They also agreed to apply the strongest sanctions and pressure on North Korea through the United Nations.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mr Moon spoke by phone yesterday and condemned North Korea's latest test, calling for tougher sanctions against Pyongyang, a German government spokesman said. "The Chancellor and the President voiced their support for the international community to rapidly adopt additional stricter sanctions," the spokesman said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2017, with the headline 'Warhead weight limit lifted'. Print Edition | Subscribe