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Reps ask the president to scrap missile limits

Sept 01,2017
A group of lawmakers on Thursday proposed a parliamentary resolution calling on President Moon Jae-in to scrap a South Korea-U.S. missile guideline, saying it has restricted Seoul’s missile capabilities and commercial rocket development.

The 26 lawmakers, led by Kim Kyung-jin of the minor opposition People’s Party, claimed that the “humiliating” guideline has seriously infringed on the country’s self-reliant defense capabilities amid the grave security tensions triggered by North Korea’s provocations.

The bilateral agreement currently bans Seoul from developing ballistic missiles with a range of over 800 kilometers (497 miles) and a payload exceeding 500 kilograms (0.5 metric tons). South Korea is seeking to revise it, reportedly with an aim to double the warhead weight limit to produce more powerful missiles.

“The Republic of Korea’s National Assembly condemns the discussions on the revision of the guideline that is seriously infringing on our self-reliant defense capabilities, and we express our serious regret over the guideline infringing on Korea’s sovereignty without any legally or diplomatically binding force,” Kim told a press conference.

“We urge [the government] to immediately scrap the guideline and also immediately notify the U.S. government [of its intention to discard it],” he added.

Kim also claimed that the guideline has violated the Constitution that stipulates the legislature has the right to consent to the conclusion of any treaty related to mutual security or any restriction on sovereignty.

The guideline was forged in 1979 as the South sought to secure core technology and components for its missile development from the United States, amid its heavy diplomatic and economic dependence on its superpower ally.

The United States initially limited the range to 180 km while banning Seoul from mounting a payload weighing more than 500 kg. The guideline was revised in 2001 and 2012 to extend the range to 300 km and 800 km, respectively, amid growing concerns about the missile gap with the North. Yonhap