To North Korea’s Dear Leader: don’t overboast your nuclear capabilities. The South after all, has an economy more than 30 times bigger than your dilapidated country, and a world-leading electronics industry. This is the message sent by South Korea today as it unveiled a cruise missile it said can hit the office of North Korea’s leader, trying to address concerns that it is technologically behind its unpredictable rival who just conducted its third nuclear test this week.
South Korea unveiled missile that can precisely hit Kim’s office
“The cruise missile being unveiled today is a precision-guided weapon that can identify and strike the window of the office of North Korea’s leadership,” South Korean defense ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said told reporters. “We will speed up the development of ballistic missiles with a range of 800 kilometres (500 miles),” he added. Kim said South Korea will also try to create an early warning system to detect and wipe out North Korean missiles.
“With this missile, we could hit any facility, equipment or individual target in the North anywhere at any time of our choosing,” army Major General Ryu Young-Jeo told the briefing. He said the missile was accurate enough to target a particular window on a building. It has “deadly destructive power” that could “knock enemy headquarters out from operations” during wartime.
In October last year, South Korea reached a deal with the United States to almost triple the range of its missile systems - with Seoul arguing it needed an upgrade to counter the North’s missile and nuclear programmes. The U.S. has 28,500 troops in South Korea and guarantees a nuclear “umbrella” in case of any atomic attack. In return, Seoul accepts limits on its missile capabilities.
South Korean navy missile drill - mock missile hitting right where it wanted
South Korea itself is an important manufacturer of weapons, both for domestic use and for export. During the 1960s, South Korea was largely dependent on the United States to supply its armed forces, but with the rapid industrialization in the early 1970s, the country gained the capabilities to manufacture many of its own weapons.
Since the 1980s, South Korea produces modern military technology for exports. Some of its key military export projects include T-155 Firtina self-propelled artillery for Turkey; K11 air-burst rifle for United Arab Emirates; Bangabandhu class guided-missile frigate for Bangladesh; fleet tankers such as Sirius class for the navies of Australia, New Zealand, and Venezuela; Makassar class amphibious assault ships for Indonesia; and KT-1 trainer for Turkey and Indonesia.
The fourth largest economy in Asia also manufacture various core components of other countries’ advanced military hardware. Those hardware include modern aircraft such as F-15K fighters and AH-64 attack helicopters which will be used by Singapore and Japan, whose airframes will be built by Korea Aerospace Industries in a joint-production deal with Boeing.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
North Korea, who accuses the United States and its “puppet”, South Korea, of war-mongering on an almost daily basis, is likely to respond angrily to South Korea flexing its military muscles. The two countries are technically still at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.
In the 1950s to 1960s, South Korea was one of the world’s poorest nation with a GDP per capita of $79, lower than most Latin American and some sub-Saharan African countries. By most economic measures, the North was better off in terms of industry and natural resources. Today it is a global industrial powerhouse, and one of Asia’s wealthiest and most advanced state.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov tried to calm the geopolitical tension, stating that North Koreas nuclear test should not be used as a pretext for whipping up war hysteria and that the six-way talks on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula should instead be resumed.
South Korea to North: We are capable to build 30 times more than what you can
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