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S Korea develops long range cruise missile: reports

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The Taepodong-2 long-range missile of North Korea. A file photo

SEOUL (AP): South Korea has developed a long-range cruise missile capable of striking nuclear sites and military targets in North Korea, news reports said Saturday.

The Hyunmu-3C missile has a range of 930 miles (1,500 kilometres), the Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported, citing the August edition of its sister magazine Monthly Chosun.

The new missile, if confirmed, would be the longest-range weapon in South Korea’s arsenal. Missile-range limits have been agreed upon under an accord with the US, which has cited concerns over a possible regional arms race.

The surface-to-surface missile will be deployed along the border with North Korea beginning this year, the newspaper said. It has a 990-pound (450-kilogram) payload and can hit within 2 yards (meters) of its target, the report said.

Despite the agreement with the US, South Korea can develop long-range cruise missiles as long as the payload is under 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms).

The Hyunmu-3C missile would also have the capability of hitting parts of China, Japan and Russia.

Yonhap news agency carried a similar story. Both reports cited unidentified military officials.

A spokesman for the Defense Acquisition Program Administration said he could neither confirm nor deny the reports. He spoke on condition of anonymity citing policy. A Defense Ministry spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

North Korea already has long-range missiles. The Taepodong-2 has a potential range of more than 4,100 miles (6,700 kilometres), putting Alaska within its striking distance.

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