South Korea to complete missile defence by 2012

February 15, 2009, Seoul -- South Korea plans to complete its own missile defence system against North Korea in three years, officials said on Sunday.

Officials at Seoul's defence ministry said that South Korea was pushing to establish its own air defence unit, exclusively to detect and intercept North Korean ballistic missiles, by 2012.

The unit, to cost a total of 300 billion won (USD 214 million), will complete an air and missile defence project which has been pushed for since 2006, they said.

Seoul plans to buy new radars which can detect objects up to 1,000 kilometres away for the new system, which will put the North's missiles under close watch around the clock, they added.

The two Koreas are still technically at war since the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended in a fragile armistice.

North Korea has short-range Scuds and Rodongs with a range of 1,300 kilometres, while actively developing longer-range Taepodong missiles that could reach the United States.

Scuds and Rodongs put all of South Korea within range. In recent weeks, Pyongyang has apparently started assembling its longest-range Taepondong-2 missile and it could be ready for launch late this month, according to media reports in Seoul and Washington. (

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