By Choi Soo-hyang
SEOUL, Aug. 5 (Yonhap) -- Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said Wednesday the military will accelerate its push to develop new missiles, such as hypersonic missiles and precise guided missiles, amid growing nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.
The minister made the remark during a ceremony to mark the 50th founding anniversary of the state-run Agency for Defense Development (ADD), a week after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said Pyongyang will "never stop honing the most powerful national defense capacity."
"Our military will accelerate our technology development on guided weapons system with precise guide function, long-range and hypersonic missiles, high-power warheads, and Korean-style satellite navigation system to further advance our missile capabilities," Jeong said.
The ADD is home to the development of the Hyunmoo series of ballistic and cruise missiles, the Haeseong anti-ship missile, the Cheongung surface-to-air missile, the K9 self-propelled howitzer, the K2 main battle tank and other well-known weapons, some of which are exported.
Last month, President Moon Jae-in visited the agency's headquarters in Daejeon, some 160 kilometers south of Seoul, and congratulated it for developing a ballistic missile with "sufficient range and the world's largest warhead weight," apparently referring to the Hyunmoo-4.
Noting the recent revision in the country's missile guidelines, Jeong said the military is now at a "new phase" in its response to North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations.
Last week, South Korea announced that it has become able to develop solid-propellant space rockets under the new missile guidelines with the United States, saying the deal is expected to help sharply improve the military's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
"Our military will continue to focus on strengthening our power and developing cutting-edge weapons systems by carrying out defense reform with latest technologies," Jeong said.
Special contribution by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin
Adversary that challenges S. Korea challenging Seoul-Washington alliance as whole: U.S. defense chief
S. Korea submits proposal to Turkey on new nuclear power project
(URGENT) Pentagon chief says trilateral cooperation among S. Korea, U.S., Japan enhances 'all of our security'
Actor Song joong-ki announces marriage and wife's pregnancy