Trump, Moon agree to increase Seoul's missile capabilities over South Korean threats

Moon Convenes NSC Meeting after Tremor

Trump, Moon agree to increase Seoul's missile capabilities over South Korean threats

South Korean presidential spokesman Park Soo-hyun said in a press release, cited by the Yonhap news agency, the two leaders had "reached an agreement in principle to revise the "missile guideline".

The possibility of abandoning the agreement has alarmed economists and some members of the president's own party who fear that such a move would force South Korea to block American manufacturers and farmers from a lucrative market.

Reports noted that South Korea had previously asked the U.S.to review the missile guidelines in a bid to double its firepower following rising threats from the North.

North Korea fired a Hwasong-12 missile on August 29 capable of carrying a nuclear payload that traveled almost 2,700 kilometers into the Pacific and triggered alert warnings as it flew over Japan's northern island of Hokkaido. The North has undertaken a steady stream of missile tests, including launching a missile over Japan this week, an incident that drew strong condemnations from the United States and its allies, including South Korea.

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Seoul is now allowed to possess ballistic missiles with a range of 800 km and payload of 500 kg, but it wants the weight limit raised to 1,000 kg.

North Korea has been working to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States and has recently threatened to land missiles near the US Pacific territory of Guam.

The two countries agreed to the cap as part of a commitment to a voluntary global arms-control pact known as the Missile Technology Control Regime, aimed at limiting the proliferation missiles and nuclear weapons.

The White House did not mention the voluntary bilateral agreement but said the two leaders agreed to strengthen their defense cooperation and South Korea's defense capabilities.

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Trump - who has warned that the U.S. military is "locked and loaded" in the event of further North Korean provocation - reacted angrily to the latest missile test.

In a phone call, Trump gave "conceptual approval" to a multi-billion dollar equipment sale to Seoul, the White House said in a statement, The Hill reported.

"One of the big reasons we made a decision to go forward with the agreement was to demonstrate to the South Koreans, North Koreans and Chinese that the USA was committed to this relationship for the long haul", Mr.

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