While madman North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un keeps his neighbors on edge with missile launches and threats to the United States, South Korea has been busy with a missile program of its own.
An anonymous source claimed that South Korea has test-fired a ballistic missile capable of striking anywhere in North Korea, according to the U.K. Express.
A second unnamed source in the South Korean Ministry of National Defense said the missile has a range of 800 kilometers, or 497 miles, the Express reported. The missile’s range therefore brings all of North Korea into striking distance, including up to the northern border with China.
The North Korean capital of Pyongyong is 121 air miles from Seoul.
“There was a test-firing recently of a Hyunmoo-type ballistic missile with a range of 800 km at the Anheung test site of the Agency for Defense Development under the wing of the Defense Ministry,” the source said. “It’s assessed that it was successful.”
Although the Ministry of Defense did not comment publicly, the source said that Defense Minister Han Min-koo personally observed the test launch, according to The Diplomat. The source said this was not the first test of the missile, indicating an advanced stage of development.
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With over 28,000 American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines currently in South Korea at full readiness, South Korea has long been under an umbrella of protection by the U.S.
The goal of the American presence there is and has always been to foster and support South Korean military independence. In 2012, the two countries agreed that South Korea would begin developing missiles with longer range to increase deterrence against the North’s nuclear threat, according to Yonhap News via New Delhi TV.
“If Kim Jong Un has nuclear weapons and ICBMs, he can do anything. So I think the world should be ready to deal with this kind of person,” Thae said. “Kim Jong Un is a man who can do anything beyond the normal imagination.”
South Korea’s announcement should strike fear into the heart of Kim’s regime. He’s been a bully running loose in the park, terrorizing anyone he sees. This new development is akin to confining him in an elevator with his intended victim, both with guns drawn. No winners.
That’s the point of mutual armament: Played properly, it’s a zero-sum game. The only sure way to lose is not to play.
Perhaps South Korea’s self-defense development will take some of the wind from Kim’s sails, making being the bully on the block slightly less entertaining.