S Korea test fires missile to counter threat from North

image source, AP
image captionThe launch of the new South Korean missile - with a range of at least 500km - was shown on TV news programmes

South Korea has said it has successfully test fired a ballistic missile that is capable of reaching most parts of North Korea.

The missile has been developed over the last three years in response to what it sees as an increasing military threat from the North.

The launch was watched by the South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

Last month, North Korea said it had fired a missile from a submarine for the first time.

It also claims that it can now make nuclear weapons small enough to fit onto a rocket.

Kill chain

The new South Korean missile, which has a range of at least 500km (310 miles) was fired from Taean on the country's western coast. It will be deployed later this year.

image source, AFP
image captionSouth Korea is determined to show that its has the military capacity to resist North Korea

The South Korean president said the rocket launch showed that her country possessed a substantial deterrence to resist North Korea.

"North Korea will have no choice but to come forward for dialogue rather than provocation," she was quoted as saying by Yonhap, the South Korean news agency.

South Korea has been upgrading its military hardware in a programme agreed upon with its main ally, the United States.

This new missile is part of a system called the Kill Chain. This will give South Korea surveillance facilities and weapons that will allow it to launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea within minutes if it detects a threat.

There has been tension between North and South Korea, separated after the Second World War, for decades.

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