Mon, Jun 29, 2009 - Page 4 News List

S Korea acquiring US missiles: report

SABER-RATTLING: With North Korea preparing to test a long-range missile, Seoul is stocking up on missiles that can hit targets up to 160km away, Yonhap said

REUTERS , SEOUL

South Korea is acquiring 40 US-made missiles for an Aegis destroyer this month to boost its defenses amid reports North Korea may soon test-fire missiles, Yonhap news agency yesterday quoted a military source as saying.

North Korea, which rattled regional security with a May 25 nuclear test, is preparing to test a long-range missile that could hit US territory and mid-range missiles that could hit all of South Korea, a South Korean presidential Blue House official said last week.

The surface-to-air missiles for the Aegis destroyer, designed to track and shoot down objects including missiles, can hit targets up to 160km away, Yonhap quoted the source as saying.

North Korea has also warned ships to stay away from waters off its east coast city of Wonsan, Japan? Coast Guard said last week, in a possible indication of a missile test.

North Korea in April launched a rocket it said was carrying a satellite. The move was widely seen as a disguised test of its long-range Taepodong-2 missile and a violation of UN resolutions barring the reclusive state from ballistic missile testing.

The UN Security Council punished it for the missile launch by tightening existing sanctions and imposing new ones after the 要uclear test to halt its arms trading, one of the few items the cash-short state with a broken down economy can export.

The US Navy has said it is monitoring a North Korean ship under the new UN security resolutions imposed after the nuclear test. A South Korean intelligence source said the ship was likely carrying missiles and parts, and it could be heading to Myanmar, broadcaster YTN said.

At the weekend, the prickly North Korea warned in an official media report that it would shoot down any Japanese military plane that breached North Korean air space.

South Korean officials have said the North? recent saber-訃attling may be a way for leader Kim Jong-il to build internal support as he prepares for succession in Asia? only communist dynasty.

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