South Korea and US agree to end missile guidelines.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced a joint decision on Friday 21 May 2021 with the United States to terminate guidelines that have long restricted Seoul's development of missiles.

He was speaking right after the summit with President Joe Biden at the White House.

Moon described it as a "symbolic and substantive" measure demonstrating the robustness of the alliance along with a recent deal on sharing the cost for American troops stationed on the peninsula.

First signed in 1979 and revised four times, the guidelines have put limits on South Korea's missile development program.

The accord was introduced under the Park Chung-hee government's bid to secure related technology transfer from the ally. In return, Seoul agreed to cap its ballistic missiles to a range of 180 kilometers and a payload to 500 kilograms.

Through ensuing revisions, the range was extended to 800km with the payload restriction lifted. In the latest revision made public in July 2020, Seoul won Washington's approval for the development of solid-propellant space rockets.

The liberal Moon administration has been pushing to beef up South Korea's own defense capabilities. Moon's aides say the termination of the bilateral guidelines means "missile sovereignty" for South Korea.

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