South Korea is a sovereign state in the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighboured by China to the west, Japan to the east, and North Korea to the north. With an estimated population of 50 million, it covers a total area 98,480 square kilometres which includes partially forested mountain ranges separated by deep, narrow valleys. Its main exports are wireless telecommunications equipment, motor vehicles and computers. Korea was one nation under the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties until the end of the Korean Empire in 1910, when Japan began a 35-year period of colonial rule. Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers in 1945 and three years later the country split in two, beginning decades of conflict between North and South. The current president of The Republic of Korea (South Korea) is Park Geun-hye. She is the first woman to be elected as President in South Korea.
S Korea, US agree to raise missile range limit
South Korea on Sunday announced a deal with the United States to more than double the range of its missile systems to cover the whole of North Korea – in a move sure to infuriate Pyongyang.
The agreement will allow the South to deploy missiles with a range of 800 kilometres, up from the current limit of 300 kilometres, National Security adviser Chun Yung-Woo told reporters.
“The biggest purpose of the revision is curbing military provocations by North Korea,” Chun said.
It will bring the whole of North Korea into range, as well as parts of China and Japan.
The US stations 28,500 troops in South Korea and guarantees a nuclear “umbrella” in case of any atomic attack. In return, Seoul accepts limits on its missile capabilities.
An agreement signed with the US in 2001 – the year South Korea joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) – restricted its missiles to a range of 300 kilometres and a payload of 500kg.
Given the ambitions of North Korea’s missile programme, Seoul has long argued for the range limit to be extended and negotiations took on a new urgency after a failed rocket launch by the North in April.
Pyongyang insisted its aim was to put a satellite into orbit, but the US and its allies saw the failed launch as a disguised long-range missile test banned under UN resolutions.
Chun said the new deal, which will take the range of South Korea’s missiles well beyond MTCR limits, was aimed at “securing a more comprehensive response to missile threats” by the North.