S.Korea welcomes US deal to ease missile rules

South Korea's presidential office has welcomed a deal with the United States to lift restrictions on Seoul's missile development.

A presidential office official said on Monday that President Moon Jae-in and his US counterpart, Joe Biden, agreed at their summit last week to scrap the guidelines.

They had restricted the range and payload of missiles Seoul was allowed to develop.

The official said the latest agreement is proof of enduring cooperation between the two countries as equal partners sharing core values.

In 1979, South Korea agreed to the guidelines in exchange for the transfer of missile technologies from the US. Despite a phased easing of the restrictions, missile range had until now been capped at 800 kilometers.

South Koreans mostly hailed the latest deal that will allow their country to regain its right to develop missiles.

But South Korean media cautioned that Seoul's ability to make longer range missiles may draw a backlash from North Korea, China and Russia.

A South Korean defense ministry spokesperson said there have been no complaints from China so far.

The spokesperson said South Korea need not consider the effect on neighboring countries when making such a decision.