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South Korea test fires its first ballistic missile

The weapon is believed to be a prototype for a mobile missile system.

By
Elizabeth Shim
Seoul released a photograph of the Hyunmoo-2B blasting from a tube perched atop a vehicle on Wednesday. Photo by Yonhap
Seoul released a photograph of the Hyunmoo-2B blasting from a tube perched atop a vehicle on Wednesday. Photo by Yonhap

SEOUL, June 3 (UPI) -- South Korea's Defense Ministry said Wednesday it test fired its first ballistic missile capable of reaching North Korea.

The ballistic missile Hyunmoo-2B was developed in South Korea after 2012, when the United States agreed South Korea could develop missiles capable of reaching any North Korea target, The New York Times reported.

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Seoul released a photograph of the Hyunmoo-2B blasting from a tube perched atop a vehicle, and said South Korean President Park Geun-hye watched the test firing of two missiles.

The weapon is believed to be a prototype for a mobile missile system. South Korean news agency Yonhap reported the ballistic missile could reach targets that lie at least 310 miles away from the point of launch and deliver a 2,200-pound explosion.

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If the missile begins its journey from north-central South Korea, the new weapon could reach almost all targets in the North. All South Korea missiles under development, however, are restricted to a range of up to 500 miles, per the 2012 agreement with the United States. That range limits the missiles to North Korea targets and eliminates weapons that could threaten Japan or China.

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The latest South Korea missile development could put significant pressure on North Korea. According to Yonhap, the missile can launch a pre-emptive strike against nuclear and other weapons fired from the North. It can also be placed on a 3,000-ton submarine with a vertical launcher and blasted from water.

North Korea has claimed that it has expanded its arsenal of ballistic missiles to reach all of South Korea and Japan.

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Pyongyang has said the country has also developed an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the western coast of the United States.

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