The U.S. has removed all restrictions on South Korea using solid fuel to power rockets, Cheong Wa Dae said Tuesday.
The decision is expected to speed up South Korea's efforts to develop space rockets and bolster military reconnaissance satellites.
Deputy National Security Advisor Kim Hyun-jong told reporters that the limits on the use of solid-fuel rockets have been "completely lifted" in revised missile guidelines agreed by the U.S.
In 1979, the U.S banned South Korea from building rockets above a certain range and payload, with restrictions gradually eased in 2001, 2012 and 2017. So far the guidelines limited the thrust of solid-fuel rockets to just 1/10 the level of advanced countries.
The government has been complaining that South Korea lags behind the rest of the world in terms of rocket technology even as North Korea is developing its own solid-fuel ballistic missiles.
South Korea failed to launch two liquid-fuel space rockets back in 2009 and 2010.
Solid-fuel rockets are simpler to design, cost less to produce and can more easily be moved around and launched. That could allow South Korea to launch its own military reconnaissance satellites that will monitor the Korean Peninsula around the clock. It will also be able to develop and produce civilian rockets.
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"Korea Allowed to Build Solid-Fuel Rockets"
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