Washington- US President Donald Trump’s administration agreed “in principle” to scrap a warhead weight limit on South Korea’s missiles in the wake of North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, the White House said.
“Pyongyang’s recent string of missile and nuclear tests has brought the US closer to its allies in Tokyo and Seoul, rather than dividing them as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had hoped,” Commander of the US Pacific Fleet Adm. Scott Swift said Tuesday.
Seoul was banned from possessing ballistic missiles with a maximum range of 800 kilometers (500 miles) and a payload of 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds).
During a call with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump also gave “conceptual approval” for South Korea to buy billions of dollars of weapons from the United States, the White House said in a statement.
Separately, South Korea’s presidential office said the two leaders had agreed to scrap the weight limit and to apply the strongest sanctions and pressure on North Korea through the United Nations.
South Korea said earlier in the day it was talking to the United States about deploying aircraft carriers and strategic bombers to the Korean peninsula after signs North Korea might launch more missiles.
Reports indicate that Pyongyang plans to carry out its third test in the past four weeks on the occasion of the anniversary of the founding of Kim Il Sung (the grandfather of the current leader of North Korea on Sept. 9.
For his part, South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo said that he asked his US counterpart Jim Mattis, during talks at the Pentagon last week, for strategic assets like US aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and B-52 bombers to be sent to South Korea more regularly.
On the other hand, Pyongyang’s Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva Han Tae Song said his country was prepared to send “more gift packages” to the United States, while addressing the Conference on Disarmament, saying the recent nuclear and missile tests were presented for none other than Washington.
Han added that the North will carry out more tests as long as the United States refuses to rescind its sanctions against the regime, reiterating that the missile and nuclear development programs will “never, under any circumstance” be negotiable.