North Korea will match South Korea’s increased military power “nuclear for nuclear, missile for missile”
In a chilling reaction to a new South Korean military development, North Korea’s National Defence Commission has released a statement saying Pyongyang would match any enemy “nuclear for nuclear, missile for missile”.
On the 7th October, South Korea announced an agreement with the US to triple the range of its ballistic missiles.
South Korea’s missiles were previously limited to a range of 300km but these restrictions were revised after neighbouring North Korea tested a long-range rocket from capital Pyongyang in April 2012. The rocket they claimed was an attempt to launch a satellite into orbit failed.
However, testing that type of missile technology is banned under UN resolutions and this act was considered alarming enough to justify South Korea into intensifying its military defence. Since 2001, limitations have been placed on the Asian country due to fears of an arms race developing between neighbouring powers, namely North Korea.
South Korean missiles will now have a permitted 800km range, which covers North Korea and parts of Japan and China. Meanwhile US involvement has shown their support of their allied nation; a clear factor in their decision was an attempt to curb North Korea’s military provocations.
In response, on the 9th October, only two days after the announcement, North Korea issued a statement saying that they have missiles capable of hitting the US mainland as well as targeting American bases in Japan and Guam.
In an interview with AFP, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described North Korea’s claims of long-range missiles as “alarming”.
Ban, a former foreign minister of South Korea, continued: “Since the late 1990s [North Korea] have been developing nuclear technology – that is a known fact. They have failed in their test but I don’t have any credible information about the level of their technology at this time.“
The actions of both Koreas are likely to worsen existing military tensions between North Korea and the US.