South Korea is in the final stages of developing a ballistic missile that can carry a warhead of up to 3 tons, Yonhap news agency reported on Thursday, as the country unveiled budget proposals aimed at bolstering its defences against North Korea.
In its defence blueprint for 2022-2026, the defence ministry said it would develop new missiles “with significantly enhanced destructive power,” upgrade missile defence systems and deploy new interceptors against long-range artillery.
“We will develop stronger, longer-range and more precise missiles so as to exercise deterrence and achieve security and peace on the Korean Peninsula,” the ministry said in a statement.
Among those missiles is a new weapon with a flight range of 350-400 kilometres and a payload of up to 3 tons, designed to destroy underground facilities such as those North Korea is believed to use to store nuclear weapons, Yonhap reported, citing unnamed sources.
In 2020, South Korea announced its new Hyunmoo-4 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) could carry a 2-ton warhead, while in March North Korea tested an SRBM that it said could deliver a 2.5-ton payload. The Hyunmoo-4 is South Korea’s largest missile.
Global Defense Insight noted that, in last few years, North Korea is investing huge amount of national resources on missile related new technologies. Last year, North Korea unveiled Pukguksong-4, a two-stage, solid-fuel Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM). Pukguksong-3 which has a strike range of approximately 1900 kilometers was also unveiled in 2019. So these recent developments in North Korean Missile arsenal is de-stabilizing the regional security envireonment.
Thus, South Korea is developing missiles on it’s own to deter North Korea.