South Korea has been seen to be making moves to increase the size and range of its ballistic missiles in the wake of increased weapons testing by North Korea.
Washington, Seoul's staunchest ally, has tacitly agreed through the intercession of US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster that negotiations can begin for South Korea to extend the reach and power of its missile systems as a means to prepare for war with Pyongyang, according to The Hill.
According to a 2012 bilateral missile treaty between Washington and Seoul, however, South Korea must first gain permission from the US before it can increase its arsenal, cited by the New York Times.
In a move to increase the likelihood of Washington cooperating with Seoul's desires — and contrary to election campaign indications — South Korean President Moon Jae-In will increase the US implementation of the high-tech Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system currently installed on South Korean territory.
Seoul's national security adviser contacted McMaster on Saturday recommending that Washington and Seoul begin talks that will allow South Korea to increase its missile arsenal, according to the New York Times.
McMaster has agreed, according to reports, to new talks to permit larger payloads on South Korean missiles.
But some in Seoul believe that the US anti-missile THAAD system is not enough and are arguing for nukes of their own, cited by The Hill.
Following Fridays launch of a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) — which puts the US mainland within reach of Pyongyang nukes — US President Donald Trump stated that the US "will take all necessary steps" to protect itself and its allies in the region.
After the North Korean missile launch — the 14th such test in 2017 alone — the US and South Korea again ratcheted up threats, claiming that "military options" are on the table against North Korea, according to the Independent.
The previous successful Pyongyang ICBM test, however, was shown to lack re-entry technology, and Pentagon officials later admitted that the missile had no guidance system, indicating that the threat of imminent doom at the hands of Pyongyang were premature.