September 05, 2012 09:14
Japan has told the U.S. it is against increasing the permissible range and payload of South Korean missiles, a senior diplomatic source said Tuesday. Seoul is having a hard time persuading Washington to revise a voluntary agreement that limits the range and payload.
The source said Tokyo "is taking a negative attitude toward Seoul's drastic extension of the missile range" from the current 300 km to over 800 km "for fear that a considerable part of the island nation would come within their range." Tokyo is about 1,160 km from Seoul and Osaka about 848 km.
Experts believe that Japan's three-stage solid-fuel rocket could be turned into an intercontinental ballistic missile anytime.
Tokyo has stepped up lobbying against the increased capacity since President Lee Myung-bak on Aug. 10 made a symbolic visit to Dokdo, to which Japan maintains a dubious claim. It has reportedly told Washington that South Korea could take independent action against North Korea if it improves capacity.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com