ROK test-fires ballistic missile amid tensions

Updated: 2014-04-05 07:56

By Jack Kim in Seoul (China Daily)

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The Republic of Korea has test-fired a new ballistic missile with a range of 500 km and will try to extend the range to 800 km so it can strike any site in its northern neighbor, its defense ministry said on Friday, days after Pyongyang fired a mid-range missile.

The new missiles are intended to counter the threat from Pyongyang's missile and nuclear programs, ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said.

The ROK adopted a voluntary ban on developing ballistic missiles with a range of more than 300 km, under an agreement with the United States, but the allies agreed in 2012 to allow the ROK to develop 800 km-range missiles.

"We test-fired it, and we succeeded," Kim told a briefing, when asked if the military had recently conducted a 500-km missile test. "And we're going to make 800-km missiles."

The DPRK last week fired a mid-range ballistic Rodong missile that fell into the sea off its east coast after flying about 650 km, which is short of its maximum range thought to be about 1,300 km.

The DPRK this week fired more than 500 rounds of artillery into the sea off its west coast near a disputed maritime border. More than 100 rounds landed in the waters of the ROK, prompting it to fire back more than 300 rounds into the DPRK's waters.

The ROK is also investigating two drones that crashed near its border with the DPRK which it believes were flown by Pyongyang.

On Friday, Pyongyang published comments attacking ROK President Park Geun-hye, describing her as a "repulsive wench".

The brutal denunciation, going far beyond previous criticism in the state's media, was certain to deepen animosity amid growing tensions on the world's most militarized border.

The KCNA news agency carried what it said were comments by a private citizen criticizing Park's offer last week to help the impoverished women and children in the country

"A repulsive wench such as Park Geun-hye is an incoherent existence who has long given up trying to be a woman of Korea and who makes a mockery of sacred motherhood, mad with the pursuit of national confrontation," the citizen, Kim Un-kyong, was quoted as saying by KCNA.

Park, the citizen said, had no right to talk about the children of the DPRK.


(China Daily 04/05/2014 page4)