To counter N. Korea, South seeks U.S. nod to bol­ster arms

Miami Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

re­strain Py­ongyang be­cause the mis­siles would likely be able to hit Chi­nese ter­ri­tory as well.

Moon’s top na­tional se­cu­rity ad­vi­sor, Chung Euiy­ong, called his White House coun­ter­part, Gen. H.R. McMaster, early Sat­ur­day Seoul time to pro­pose that the al­lies im­me­di­ately start ne­go­ti­a­tions to per­mit South Korea to build up its mis­sile ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

McMaster agreed to the pro­posal, which would likely in­volve in­creas­ing the pay­load on South Korea’s bal­lis­tic mis­siles, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials in both coun­tries.

South Korea needs ap­proval from the U.S. to build more pow­er­ful mis­siles un­der the terms of a bi­lat­eral treaty.

There are still ques­tions over whether the North can shrink a nu­clear weapon to fit atop its in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal mis­siles, or keep it from burn­ing up on re-en­try into the at­mos­phere.

But at the Pen­tagon and in­side U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies, there was a sense that the North had now crossed a thresh­old it has long sought: Demon­strat­ing that if the U.S. ever threat­ened the regime of Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, it had the abil­ity to threaten death and de­struc­tion in the con­ti­nen­tal United States.

“U.S. pol­icy for 21 years has been to pre­vent this day from com­ing, and now it has,” said Adam Mount, a se­nior fel­low at the Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress in Wash­ing­ton, re­fer­ring to the North’s ICBM test on Fri­day.

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