US 'Favorably Inclined' to Boosting S.Korean Missile Power

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 9, 2017

He also brought up the revision of the bilateral missile guidelines agreement, initially proposed during the Seoul-Washington summit in July, to extend the maximum allowable payload of South Korea's ballistic missiles to better cope with the North's rising threats, asking for his US counterpart's backing. When asked about increasing the size of the payloads during a meeting with reporters at the Pentagon in Washington on August 7, Pentagon spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis said this "is a topic under active consideration here".

Davis said he had no idea of the revision schedule.

A decision on the issue, which was raised by President Moon during his summit with President Trump in June, will likely be made during the Security Consultative Meeting in Seoul in October. Davis also noted that the United States will have to adapt to an increasing and changing North Korean threat, suggesting that the USA recognizes the need for allowing more powerful missiles.

Under the current guidelines, South Korea is allowed only ballistic missiles with a range of less than 800 km and a payload of under 500 kg. Davis told reporters he wasn't sure about the timeframe of the negotiations for revising the guidelines. With the joint South Korea-U.S. military exercise slated to take place at the end of August, which may potentially lead to another provocation by the North, the two leaders vowed to continue to work together to deter future threats. During a meeting in Manila on August 6, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson agreed to work together to speed up the negotiations. But it now wants to increase the payload to 1 ton to improve the destructive power of missiles while maintaining the range. If the negotiations with the U.S. result in payloads on the 800-km missiles being increased to 1 ton, they will probably be used in the Korean Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) plan, which is created to retaliate against a provocation with a direct hit on the North Korean leadership. "President Moon and President Trump reaffirmed they will cooperate with one another, and with the global community, to apply the maximum pressure and sanctions for North Korea to make the right decision to give up its nuclear program".

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