DATE=7/14/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=US / SOKOR MISSILES (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-264417 BYLINE=JENNIFER O'NEIL DATELINE=HONG KONG CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Senior U-S and South Korean officials are discussing a possible deal that would allow Seoul to build missiles that could strike any where in North Korea. U-S envoy Robert Einhorn is in Seoul just days after his talks with North Korean officials deadlocked on halting Pyongyang's missile exports. V-O-A's Jennifer O'Neil reports from our Asia New Center in Hong Kong. TEXT: The U-S assistant secretary of state, Robert Einhorn, arrived in Seoul Thursday to discuss a possible U-S endorsement of Seoul's desire to develop missiles with a longer range. The sensitive talks -- the latest in a series -- have been focusing on boosting South Korea's missile range from the current 180 to 300 kilometers. South Korea says it wants to improve its deterrent capabilities, and the United States has endorsed the move in principle. But Washington is worried that it could complicate recently improving relations with North Korea and spur a regional arms race. South Korean officials counter they have a legitimate right to provide for their own security needs and it should not jeopardize the new peace overtures agreed to at last month's first-ever inter-Korea summit. South Korea is currently bound to limit the range of its missiles by a 1979 agreement with Washington -- Seoul's chief defense ally. Before arriving in South Korea, Assistant Secretary Einhorn failed to make progress on getting communist North Korea to curb its missile exports. Talks broke down when the North Koreans demanded the United States pay it one billion-dollars annually. (signed) NEB/HK/JO/JP 14-Jul-2000 07:20 AM EDT (14-Jul-2000 1120 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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