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South Korea Wants to Build Bigger Missiles, Putting China Within Range

Washington supports the move.
IMAGE PX MEDIA / SHUTTERSTOCK
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In 1979, South Korea and the United States signed a pact that put a cap of 800 kilometers to the range of missiles the Asian country can develop. Two weeks ago, that deal was scrapped at a summit meeting between President Biden and President Moon Jae-in. 

In other words, Washington has given Seoul permission to develop bigger, more powerful missiles that put territories beyond North Korea within range. That means China. 

Not too pleased, North Korea slammed the move, crying double standards on America. 

“The termination step is a stark reminder of the U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK and its shameful double-dealing,” North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency wrote in a statement. 

Within four months of taking office, President Biden’s swift strategic pivot to Asia is not missed among geopolitical observers. His Asian policy is even more robust and meaningful than Obama’s, who preferred to play it safe with allies in Asia Pacific. Biden has reaffirmed commitments to the Philippines with strong support against China in the West Philippine Sea, and has encouraged an international task force to sail to the South China Sea to cancel China’s claims in the region. 

According to the Washington Post, Biden characterized his Asia strategy as “a combination of diplomacy, as well as stern deterrence.”

In April 2021, Biden completed a review of foreign policy toward North and South Korea, culminating in the termination of the missile cap on the South. 

Although China will obviously be affected by any missile development program by South Korea, Biden and Moon avoided any mention of the Chinese. 

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China’s ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming did not protest the new development, saying the new missile guideline is a matter between Washington and Seoul, but assured the public that it is prepared to act if it deems the program harmful to Chinese interests. 

“However, we will not stand still if it does damage to China’s national interest,” Xing told reporters last week.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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