US OKs S. Korea Missiles That Could Hit North
Had long feared regional arms race; move a 'proportional response'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 7, 2012 10:24 AM CDT
Chun Young-woo, secretary for foreign affairs and national security, speaks in Seoul, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. South Korea said the US will allow it longer-range missiles that could hit North Korea.   (Lee Jin-man)

(Newser) – The United States has agreed to allow South Korea to possess longer-range missiles that could strike all of North Korea, officials said today, a development expected to draw an angry response from the North. Under a 2001 accord with Washington, South Korea has been barred from developing ballistic missiles with a range of more than 186 miles and a payload of more than 1,100 pounds because of concerns about a regional arms race. The restriction has made South Korea's missile capability inferior to that of rival North Korea, and some key military installations in the North have been out of South Korea's range.

South Korea announced today that the US accord has been altered to allow the South to have ballistic missiles with a range of up to 500 miles to better cope with North Korea's nuclear and missile threats. The deal also will allow South Korea to operate drone aircraft carrying payloads of up to 5,510 pounds with a range of more than 186 miles. It places no restriction on payloads for drones with a flying distance of less than 186 miles. "These revisions are a prudent, proportional, and specific response to the (North Korean) ballistic missile threat," says a Pentagon spokesman. North Korean state media didn't immediately respond.

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Oct 8, 2012 7:36 AM CDT
aint that just a kick in the----
Oct 7, 2012 11:09 PM CDT
There is the saying "Fences make good neighbors". With a new leader in the North, which I predict will only bring progress to his country, it is necessary to let him know that there is a fence line. If they should ever decide to invade South Korea they will think twice. Remember, North Koreans see only one Korea.
Oct 7, 2012 9:01 PM CDT
I'd say we're doing a pretty piss poor job of mediating and maintaining peace when we openly post our military in support of SK, heavily discourage weapons development in NK, and then encourage SK development. Unstable or not, diplomacy requires that we show some degree of respect to Jong Un or future negotiation will be impossible.