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SKorea Pres. Observes Missile Test     06/23 06:04

   SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday 
observed the test-firing of a new midrange missile being developed to counter 
North Korean threats, saying Seoul must be able to militarily "dominate" the 
North for future engagement to work.

   It's a twist on the typical pattern on the Korean Peninsula, where North 
Korean state media frequently issue reports about leader Kim Jong Un observing 
missile tests that it says are needed to combat South Korean and U.S. hostility.

   Moon, a liberal who took office in May after a decade of conservative rule 
in South Korea, supports engagement with North Korea, but was quoted after the 
launch as saying that "dialogue is only possible when we have a strong 
military, and engagement policies are only possible when we have the security 
capability to dominate North Korea."

   "Our people will feel proud and safe after seeing that our missile 
capability doesn't trail North Korea's," Moon said, according to his spokesman, 
Park Soo-hyun.

   Park didn't say how far the Hyunmoo-2 missile flew or where it landed, but 
said it accurately hit its target area.

   North Korean missile tests present a difficult challenge for Moon.

   North Korea has tested several new missile systems this year, including a 
powerful midrange missile that experts say could one day reach targets as far 
as Hawaii or Alaska. It also conducted two nuclear tests last year as it 
pursues development of a long-range nuclear missile that could reach the U.S. 
mainland.

   South Korea's military plans to deploy the Hyunmoo-2, which is designed to 
hit targets as far as 800 kilometers (500 miles) away, after conducting two 
more test launches.

   The missile is considered a key part of a so-called "kill chain" pre-emptive 
strike capability South Korea is pursuing to cope with the North's growing 
nuclear and missile threat. In addition to expanding its missile arsenal, South 
Korea is also strengthening its missile defense, which include Patriot-based 
systems and a high-tech Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery currently 
under deployment in the southeastern county of Seongju.

   South Korea began developing Hyunmoo-2 after a 2012 agreement with its ally, 
the United States, to increase the range of its weapons to 800 kilometers (500 
miles) and raise the warhead limit to 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds).


(KA)

 
 
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