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S. Korea to deploy longer-range missiles this month.

SEOUL, Nov. 5 Kyodo

South Korea plans to deploy U.S.-made missiles next month that are capable of hitting most targets in North Korea, Yonhap News Agency reported Wednesday.

Most of the Army Tactical Missile System Block 1A Missiles, made by Lockheed Martin Corp., will be deployed along with 10 launchers close to the 248-kilometer-long demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, an unidentified military source was quoted as saying.

The deployment comes as part of a $300 million force improvement program under which South Korea will purchase by next year some 110 surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 300 km, the source said.

North Korea's missile program is superior to that of South Korea and the North is widely believed to be in the process of developing intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of hitting Hawaii and Alaska.

It already has missiles reportedly capable of striking Japan and some neighboring countries.

The reported deployment by South Korea of missiles with longer ranges could come during the flurry of ongoing diplomatic efforts to arrange a second round of six-party talks aimed at resolving a standoff over North Korea's nuclear weapons ambitions.

North and South Korea, the United States, Russia, China and Japan held their first six-way meeting in Beijing in August on the nuclear question, but no date or venue for a second meeting has yet been set.

Diplomats from the six countries are trying to get a new parley off the ground.

The effort received a shot in the arm last week when North Korea told China's top legislator Wu Bangguo during a visit to Pyongyang that it had accepted ''in principle'' the idea of a second round, but there is still no date for a new meeting.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Nov 10, 2003
Words:287
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