Plans by a German arms manufacturer to sell high-tech cruise missiles to South Korea has angered North Korean diplomats, the Moscow-based Interfax news agency said on Monday.
The deal for 170 air-to-surface ‘Taurus’ missiles is reportedly worth $300m, a North Korean “diplomatic source” said, and represents a “hostile move” by Germany.
“In case Germany is still bent on supplying these dangerous offensive weapons which even the USA did not resolve to sell, this will become evidence of voluntary deviation from the official policy of establishing peace and security on the Korean Peninsula that has been proclaimed by these countries until now,” the source told Interfax.
“This will be perceived as a hostile move.”
South Korean defense minister Kim Kwan-jin approved a plan by his Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) to purchase the bunker-busting missiles, Yonhap news reported in June.
Seoul had previously tried to acquire American-made Joint Air-to-Surface-Standoff Missiles (JASSM) from Lockheed Martin, but the Pentagon––which classifies the missiles as a “strategic weapon”––prevented the sale.
The Taurus KEPD 350 air-to-surface missile can be carried by South Korean F-15K fighter jets, and is equipped with a Global Positioning System (GPS) that allows a 480kg warhead to penetrate up to 6 metres of reinforced concrete.
Joint German-Swedish venture TAURUS Systems, a collaboration between LFK-Lenkflugkörpersysteme GmbH and Saab Dynamics AB, produces the missiles.
Theoretically, if launched from a fighter jet in airspace above the central South Korean city of Daejeon––home to ROK Military headquarters––the Taurus could “hit an underground bunker in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang,” Yonhap said.
“Launched from the air above the central [South Korean] city of Daejeon, where the headquarters of three [South Korean] military branches are located, they can hit an underground bunker in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
The Taurus has an operational range of over 500km, and can “Navigate to any target in the world,” according to a promotional video produced by the company.