South Korea Tests Missile As President Speaks Of Need To 'Dominate' North : The Two-Way Military strength is needed for dialogue with North Korea to work, President Moon Jae-in says. Officials say the Hyunmoo-2 missile, with a range of nearly 500 miles, hit its target accurately.
NPR logo South Korea Tests Missile As President Speaks Of Need To 'Dominate' North

South Korea Tests Missile As President Speaks Of Need To 'Dominate' North

South Korean President Moon Jae-in watches a test-firing of an indigenously developed ballistic missile at the state-run Agency for Defense Development in Taean, South Korea. The Presidential Blue House/Yonhap via Reuters hide caption

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The Presidential Blue House/Yonhap via Reuters

South Korean President Moon Jae-in watches a test-firing of an indigenously developed ballistic missile at the state-run Agency for Defense Development in Taean, South Korea.

The Presidential Blue House/Yonhap via Reuters

South Korean President Moon Jae-in watched his military test-fire a ballistic missile on Friday, after a string of North Korean missile tests were blamed for raising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The military said the missile, a Hyunmoo-2 with a range of up to 800 kilometers (nearly 500 miles), hit its target accurately.

When Moon won South Korea's presidency last month, he was seen as likely to return to the "Sunshine Policy" of engaging with North Korea through dialogue and economic aid. But today he said "dialogue is only possible when we have a strong military, and engagement policies are only possible when we have the security capability to dominate North Korea," according to the Associated Press. The president's remarks were relayed by Blue House spokesperson Park Soo-hyun.

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Saying that he wanted to evaluate South Korea's missile capability for himself, Moon added that he is now reassured. Friday's missile test is the fourth of six evaluations that will take place "before official weaponization" of the Hyunmoo-2, according to The Korea Herald.

Moon watched the test during a visit to the Agency for Defense Development's facility in Taean County, along South Korea's western coast in Chungcheongnam-do province.

In addition to developing its own missiles, South Korea is currently protected from a North Korean missile strike by a U.S. THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile battery, which was brought into the country in March and deployed in the southeast. It was declared operational one week before Moon was elected.

Moon will travel to Washington, D.C., next week; he's planning to meet with President Trump for a two-day summit, from June 29-30.

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