South Korea calls on North to stop submarine missile project
Iran Press TV
Mon May 11, 2015 5:24AM
South Korea has called on North Korea to end the development of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), threatening to respond "mercilessly" to any act of provocation from Pyongyang.
"We urge the North to immediately stop development of the SLBM that threatens the security of the Korean Peninsula and northeast Asia," South Korea's Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok told reporters on Monday.
Kim said the weapon's major strategic hazard is the difficulty in tracking a submerged submarine armed with SLBM.
North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported early on Saturday that the country had test-fired the new SLBM under the supervision of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who described it as an "eye-opening success" and a "world-level strategic weapon."
The South Korean spokesman, however, said that according to the ministry's assessment, the missile was in its "early phase" of development, adding, "In advanced countries, it took about four to five years to develop operational SLBMs."
In a security meeting with ruling South Korean Saenuri Party officials in the capital, Seoul, South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo also said that the South's army would not stand idly by in the face of a North Korean attack.
"We will mercilessly retaliate to break their cycle of provocation," Han stated, adding, "Retaliation against provocation is an order from the people."
North Korea is under UN sanctions over launching ballistic missile considered by the West as being aimed at delivering nuclear warheads.
Pyongyang says its missile tests, slammed mainly by the US and South Korea, seek to boost defense capabilities in the face of enemy threats.
The Korean Peninsula has been locked in a cycle of military rhetoric since the Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953 and ended in an armistice. No peace deal has been signed since then, meaning that Pyongyang and Seoul technically remain at war.
North Korea accuses US President Barack Obama of plotting with regional allies to topple its government. Pyongyang says it will not relinquish its nuclear deterrence unless the US ends its hostile policy toward North Korea and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea.
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