In the view of China threat, the United States has scrapped the missile guidelines that have restricted South Korea’s development of missiles with a flight range of 800 kilometers and longer. South Korean President Moon Jae called the move as “symbolic and substantive”. The restrictions were lifted following a summit with U.S. President Joe Biden, and President Moon Jae today. This move will enable South Korea to develop IRBM, ICBM and SLBM which can be placed further away from Chinese pre emptive attacks.
The US had imposed the missile related restrictions in 1979 after South Korea purchased US missile technologies for its own missile development. Seoul had agreed to limit the maximum flight range of its missiles to 180 km and the weight of warheads to 500 kg.
On Jan 17, 2001, the limit on South Korea’s missile range was increased to 300 km and 500 kg under the first revision to the guidelines for Seoul’s entry to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
On Oct 7, 2012, the missile guidelines were amended enabling South Korea to extend ballistic missile range to 800 km, a distance long enough to reach all of North Korea. The warheads could be heavier than the previous limit of 500 kg on the condition that the range decreases in proportion to the increase of the weight of the warhead.
On Nov 7, 2017, the US and South Korea agreed to completely remove the limit on missile payloads after a bilateral summit at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.
On July 28, 2020, South Korea and the U.S. agreed to lift restrictions on Seoul’s use of solid fuels for its space rocket launches.
Republic of Korea (ROK) Army is planning a new missile Hyunmoo IV capable of striking more than *00 Kms carrying a warhead of about 1000 kg.