President Moon Jae-in said South Koreans should be proud of the latest missiles the country has recently revealed, Moon’s communications secretary said Saturday in a post on Facebook.
The post quoted Moon during a closed-door meeting with his senior secretaries a day after the launch.
On Sept. 15, South Korea test-fired its first submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from a homegrown submarine, along with an air-to-surface missile and a cruise missile. The South was the first non-nuclear state to carry out an SLBM test from a submarine.
The SLBM launch, Moon said, was such a success that the other weapons tests, which turned out be just as successful, were overshadowed so more needed to be done to make that known, according to communications secretary Park Soo-hyun.
Moon oversaw the test, something he rarely does, in what many see as a move to reinforce the message that he was as serious about bolstering security as seeking peace talks with North Korea. Conservatives have accused Moon of keeping weapons tests low-key so as not to provoke the North.
But Park denied this, saying the Moon Jae-in administration has spent more on defense than the previous conservative governments under Presidents Park Geun-hye and Lee Myung-bak.
The Ministry of National Defense has said it will build missiles with more firepower and flight range for the next five years as part of its 315 trillion won ($271 billion) project to improve its defense capabilities and ensure readiness against North Korea.
The two Koreas are locked in an expanding arms race, with North Korea having test-fired advanced missiles, including a hypersonic missile, in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions that ban it from testing or developing ballistic missiles.
South Korea did not join the US or Japan, when they condemned North Korea’s missile tests, saying it was closely looking at North Korea’s proposal that Seoul and Washington meet Pyongyang’s demands to resume nuclear talks, which last opened in 2019.
By Choi Si-young (email@example.com