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South Korea test fires its first 500km ballistic missile

South Korea conducted its first-ever test launch of a ballistic missile Wednesday as part of its efforts to better counter North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threats.

President Park Geun-hye attended the event hosted by the state-run Agency for Defense Development in Taean, South Chungcheong Province. The newly developed missile has a range of more than 500 kilometers and thus is capable of striking nearly all parts of the communist neighbor.

“The site is where the military is developing key assets designed to counter North Korean threats, and the president observed the guided weapon’s test flight and inspected the military’s readiness posture,” Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Min Kyung-wook told reporters.

The experiment came as Pyong­yang accelerates its development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, miniaturized warheads to fit atop them and their delivery means. Last month, it succeeded in ejecting a dummy projectile from a new 2,000-ton submarine along the east coast. 

South Korea‘s first 500-kilometer-range ballistic missile is test fired at a test site run by the Agency for Defense Development in Taean, South Chungcheong Province, Wednesday. (Defense Ministry)
South Korea‘s first 500-kilometer-range ballistic missile is test fired at a test site run by the Agency for Defense Development in Taean, South Chungcheong Province, Wednesday. (Defense Ministry)

The ADD also test fired an upgraded surface-to-air missile named Cheolmae II, or M-SAM, which is capable of intercepting an incoming target at an altitude of 15 kilometers or higher.

The two missiles are a major feature of Seoul’s Kill Chain and the Korea Air and Missile Defense preemptive strike system to be completed by the early 2020s.

In October 2012, Seoul and Washington amended their missile guidelines to enable South Korea to own a ballistic missile with a range of 800 kilometers.

By Shin Hyon-hee (heeshin@heraldcorp.com)
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