Seoul, Sep 15 (EFE).- South Korea announced Wednesday that it was developing a supersonic cruise missile to bolster its maritime defense after the North test-fired a new long-range missile in a growing military tension and arms escalation on the peninsula.
The defense ministry, in a statement, said the new missile with improved speed would make it “very difficult for enemy warships to respond, leading to the missile’s higher survivability and destructive power.
“It is expected to serve as a core asset to counter forces that approach our territorial waters,” the ministry said.
But the ministry gave no more specifics of the missile under development.
However, the official Yonhap news agency quoting unnamed sources said the South Korean SLBM codenamed Hyunmoo 4-4 might be a variant of the Hyunmoo-2B ballistic missile, with a flight range of around 500 km.
The 3,000-ton-class submarine has six vertical launch tubes, the news agency said.
South Korea will become the seventh country to develop an SLBM after the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, and India.
The announcement came after South Korea announced that it had test-fired an indigenous submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
President Moon Jae-in witnessed the launch at an Agency for Defense Development (ADD) center.
The launch came hours after North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the East Sea.
Moon assured that the South Korean weapons test was not in response to the North’s launch.
But the timing and the type indicate that Seoul might have sent a message of military prowess to Pyongyang and the South Koreans ahead of presidential elections in March next year.
“Our enhanced missile power can be a sure-fire deterrent to North Korean provocation,” Moon said.
Earlier, the defense ministry indicated it had progressed in developing a long-range air-to-surface missile for KF-21 next-generation fighter jets.
North Korea tested a new type of long-range cruise missile over the weekend.
In August, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warned Pyongyang had reactivated facilities to obtain weapons range nuclear fuel.
The arms escalation comes amid the stalled denuclearization dialog since the failed 2019 Hanoi summit between the US and North Korea.
The US deemed the North Korean disarmament offer insufficient and refused to lift sanctions against Pyongyang. EFE