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Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 13:30 GMT
S Korea owns up to missile test
North Korean missiles
Rival Pyongyang has developed powerful missiles
South Korea has said it test-fired a short-range missile from a military base on its west coast on Thursday.

An air force spokesman said the authorities had decided to publicly acknowledge the test to prevent "misunderstandings" in neighbouring countries.

The missile launched from the base near Taejon, about 120km (72 miles) south of Seoul, flew its full 100-km (60-mile range) before landing in the Yellow Sea between South Korea and China.

Japan had earlier asked South Korea for information about an object which it said had fallen into the East China Sea.

Japan has been nervous about missile tests in the region after North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile just over three years ago.

South Korean officials said the defence ministry had notified the United States of the test, as required under a bilateral treaty.

In a brief statement, the ministry said the missile had hit a target about 50km west of the coastal town of Pyonsan.

Longer range

South Korea has previously indicated it wants to develop missiles with a longer range.

After months of negotiations, Seoul says it obtained US approval in January to develop missiles with a range of up to 300 km - powerful enough to strike the North Korean capital Pyongyang and other key North Korean cities.

North Korea is believed to be armed with missiles capable of hitting all of South Korea and most of Japan.

It alarmed the region by firing a long-range missile in 1998 which flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific.

See also:

17 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
S Korea extends missile range
05 Dec 98 | Asia-Pacific
South Korea sorry for missile accident
12 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
North Korea: A military threat?
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