South Korean President Moon Jae-in watched his military test-fire a ballistic missile on Friday, after a string of North Korean missile tests were blamed for raising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
The military said the missile, a Hyunmoo-2 with a range of up to 800 kilometers (nearly 500 miles), hit its target accurately.
When Moon won South Korea’s presidency last month, he was seen as likely to return to the “Sunshine Policy” of engaging with North Korea through dialogue and economic aid. But today he said “dialogue is only possible when we have a strong military, and engagement policies are only possible when we have the security capability to dominate North Korea,” according to the Associated Press. The president’s remarks were relayed by Blue House spokesperson Park Soo-hyun.
Saying that he wanted to evaluate South Korea’s missile capability for himself, Moon added that he is now reassured. Friday’s missile test is the fourth of six evaluations that will take place “before official weaponization” of the Hyunmoo-2, according to The Korea Herald.
Moon watched the test during a visit to the Agency for Defense Development’s facility in Taean County, along South Korea’s western coast in Chungcheongnam-do province.
In addition to developing its own missiles, South Korea is currently protected from a North Korean missile strike by a U.S. THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile battery, which was brought into the country in March and deployed in the southeast. It was declared operational one week before Moon was elected.
Moon will travel to Washington, D.C., next week; he’s planning to meet with President Trump for a two-day summit, from June 29-30.