South Korea successfully launched a test missile with a range capable of striking anywhere in North Korea, reports the New York Times.
The ballistic missile, fired from a test site in a coastal area south of Seoul, the capital, has a range of up to 497 miles, as per an agreement with the United States. The South Korean government has already tested the Hyunmoo-2 missile four times, and it will be ready for use after two more trial-launches.
This comes after President Moon Jae-in announced his intentions to pursue diplomatic talks with North Korea regarding the cessation of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program since sanctions have not been effective.
“I am a believer in dialogue, but I also know that dialogue is possible when we have a strong national defense,” said President Moon Jae-in after the launch. “A policy of embracing North Korea is possible when we have a defense capability that surpasses that of North Korea.”
North Korea has been stepping up its own weapons development in recent years, including multiple attempts to build an intercontinental ballistic missile. Last month, the North launched a missile that landed in the waters off the coast of Japan. The latest series of tests conducted by North Korea have raised fears that North Korea plans to attack South Korea, Japan, and U.S. military installations in the Pacific.
South Korean officials, including President Moon, will meet with President Trump later this month to discuss a joint strategy to stop North Korea’s weapon development.