Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Pyongyang brands end to Seoul’s missile-range limits as ‘hostile policy’



Pyongyang brands end to Seoul’s missile-range limits as ‘hostile policy’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
South Korean missiles are on display at the Korean War Memorial in Seoul. Yonhap

Pyongyang brands end to Seoul’s missile-range limits as ‘hostile policy’

North Korea on May 31 slammed the US for terminating guidelines that have restricted Seoul’s development of ballistic missiles as a “stark reminder” of Washington’s hostile approach to Pyongyang.

This marked Pyongyang’s first reaction to the May 21 summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his US counterpart Joe Biden, during which the US decided to abolish the decades-long guidelines that had put limits on South Korea’s missile development programme, allowing Seoul to build and possess any type of weapons from now on.

The US “is engrossed in confrontation despite its lip-service to dialogue”, the state-run Korea Central News Agency said in an article, penned by Kim Myong-chol, an international affairs critic.

“The termination step is a stark reminder of the US’ hostile policy toward the DPRK and its shameful double-dealing,” he said, using the initials for the North’s official name – the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“The US is mistaken, however. It is a serious blunder for it to pressure the DPRK by creating asymmetric imbalance in and around the Korean Peninsula as this may lead to the acute and instable situation on the Korean Peninsula now technically at war,” he said.

North Korea’s target is the US, not the South Korean army, it said, adding it will counter the US on the “principle of strength”.

The missile guideline was first signed in 1979, when South Korea sought to secure US missile technologies for its own development. In return, US capped the limits on the flight range to 180km and the maximum payload to 500kg, amid Washington’s concerns about a regional arms race.

Over the years, there were multiple revisions to meet evolving threats from the North, with the latest range extended to 800km and the payload cap scrapped.

Observers have hailed the lifting as Seoul gaining “missile sovereignty”, but others also view it as part of the US’ strategy to counter China and North Korea.

The latest termination decision could add more tension on the Korean Peninsula, experts say, amid stalled denuclearisation talks between the US and North Korea, as well as deadlocked inter-Korean ties.

“South Korean progressives often express a willingness to cancel defence exercises with the United States in order to focus on diplomatically engaging North Korea. But Seoul’s discontinuation of guidelines that had limited its missile capabilities may be a greater source of friction in pursuing peace with Pyongyang,” said Leif-Eric Easley, an associate professor of international studies at Ewha Womans University.

“From Pyongyang’s perspective, this looks like an expensive arms race. The Kim regime will continue to complain about South Korean ‘hypocrisy’ and US ‘hostility’ while advancing its own missile programmes.”

The report also lashed out at Moon for welcoming the lifting of the guidelines, calling it “disgusting and indecent”. “Now that the US and the South Korean authorities made clear their ambition of aggression, they are left with no reasons whatsoever to fault the DPRK bolstering its capabilities for self-defence,” it said.

The South’s unification ministry, in charge of inter-Korean affairs, on May 31 said it will continue to carefully watch the North’s reaction, but declined to comment on the report further, since the remarks were attributed to an individual and not an official statement from the government.

THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’