US-President Donald Trump has agreed to strengthen South Korea’s military arsenal and revise the military agreement that limits the size of Seoul’s missiles, according to a South Korean statement on Trump’s call with President Moon Jae-in on Friday, reports Newsweek
“Sharing the view that South Korea needs to bolster its defense capabilities to counter North Korea’s provocations and threats, the two leaders agreed in principle to revise the missile guidelines to a level that the South Korean side desires,” read a statement from President Moon’s office, quoted in the country’s news agency Yonhap.
Without explicitly mentioning the missile guidelines, the White House said the leaders “agreed to strengthen” their alliance and Seoul’s defense capabilities and that Trump provided his “conceptual approval” of South Korea’s purchase of American military equipment worth billions of dollars, without adding further details.
South Korea previously asked the U.S. to review the missile guidelines in a bid to double its firepower following rising threats from the North, which flew a ballistic missile over Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido on Tuesday in its latest illegal test.
First stipulated in 1979 to contain a regional arms race, the missile guidelines have been revised only twice, in 2001 and 2012. The latest revision allowed Seoul to increase the maximum allowable missile range to 800km from the previous limit of 300km, and to load up to 500kg of warheads on the 800km-range missiles.