Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn inspects the candidate site for an advanced U.S. missile defense system in Seongju. South Korea also expects to deploy more missiles to respond to potential missile threats from North Korea. Photo by Yonhap News Agency
SEOUL, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- South Korea's military is planning to step up deployment of domestically developed ballistic missiles.
Seoul's ballistic missiles the Hyeonmu-2A and 2B and cruise missile Hyeonmu-3 are to be deployed in larger quantities, local newspaper Donga Ilbo reported Sunday.
The decision comes at a time when South Korea is looking for a means to respond to incoming North Korean missiles with a pre-emptive strike or a neutralization of the weapon.
According to Seoul's military, the Hyeonmu missiles cover a wide range of distances.
The Hyeonmu-1 can travel as far as 110 miles, the Hyeonmu-2A covers 186 miles and the Hyeonmu-2B 310 miles.
The cruise missile Hyeonmu-3A travels 186 miles, the Hyeonmu-3B 620 miles, and the Hyeonmu-3C 930 miles.
Seoul plans to deploy the increased number of missiles in 2017, and another ballistic missile, the Hyeonmu-2C, capable of traveling 500 miles, is under development.
North Korea retains more than 1,000 missiles in its arsenal, and about 70 percent target the South, according to the report.
A South Korean military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the Donga the Hyeonmu missiles are to form a part of Kill Chain, a pre-emptive strike system being built for South Korea's defense.
The military official also said Seoul has received approval from the United States to equip air-to-ground precision-guided bombs with U.S. military-grade GPS systems, which should allow South Korea to locate and strike North Korea's command facilities from as far away as 70 miles.
On Monday Chinese media outlet Guancha criticized the South Korean decision to increase the number of Hyeonmu missiles on the peninsula, stating they are capable of reaching parts of northern China that include Beijing, the capital.