A provisional agreement with the United States would permit South Korea to manufacture ballistic missiles capable of traveling close to 500 miles, unidentified sources told the Yonhap News Agency on Sunday.
Diplomatic insiders and one government staffer said the new maximum ballistic missile range of 497 miles would put all of North Korea within targeting distance from a firing point in Daejeon, a city in the central region of the South.
Seoul is presently banned under a South Korean-U.S. military cooperation agreement from developing ballistic missiles with ranges longer than 186 miles or that can wield warheads weighing more than 1,100 pounds. The South Korean government has been lobbying for authorization under an updated deal to produce farther-flying missiles as a response to rival Pyongyang's own expanding ballistic missile stockpile.
The new agreement would not change the maximum ballistic missile weight allowance, insiders said.
One South Korean official said Washington and Seoul were now in agreement on the primary aspects of the missile deal. The two longtime allies are anticipated in early October to announce the terms of the new agreement.