South Korea Announces Development of Shipborne Missile Interceptor Amid Rising ThreatsLunar New Year Travel Causes Highway Congestion in South Korea

SEOUL — South Korea is set to initiate the development of a sophisticated shipborne missile interceptor within the year, as announced by the country's state arms procurement agency. This move is part of a broader strategy to bolster defenses against the advancing military capabilities of North Korea.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the decision follows the defense authorities' approval last year of a 690 billion-won (approximately US$520 million) project, which is expected to continue through 2030. The initiative aims to create the "Ship-to-Air Missile-II," a system intended to neutralize incoming aircraft and cruise missiles. DAPA plans to commence research and development efforts this year, with the goal of deploying the missile on the Navy's forthcoming next-generation destroyers.

The agency outlined that the new missile would offer superior performance to the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) that the Navy currently employs, though specific enhancements were not disclosed. The SM-2, developed by the U.S. defense contractor Raytheon, boasts a range of 90 nautical miles, equivalent to 166.7 kilometers.

This development project is a response to North Korea's continued advancements in weaponry, including the recent tests of what it claims to be "strategic" cruise missiles. South Korea's commitment to upgrading its naval defense capabilities reflects the escalating security challenges in the region.

SEOUL — South Korea witnessed significant traffic congestion on its major highways Saturday morning as millions embarked on journeys related to the Lunar New Year holiday, a time traditionally marked by a mass movement of people traveling to their hometowns from Seoul and its surrounding regions.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the state-operated highway management organization, the journey from Seoul to Busan, a distance of 320 kilometers to the southeast, was expected to last approximately six hours and 40 minutes as of 9 a.m. on Saturday. Similarly, travelers heading east to Gangneung, located about 160 kilometers from Seoul, were anticipated to face a three-hour drive. The agency also reported heavy traffic on highways leading into Seoul, predicting that around 6.05 million vehicles would leave the capital region, with another 460,000 heading in the opposite direction throughout the day.

The Korea Expressway Corp. projected that congestion on outbound roads from Seoul would reach its peak between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday and would not begin to alleviate until around 9 p.m. Conversely, traffic volume heading back into the Seoul area was expected to climax between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., with conditions improving in the early hours of Sunday, between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.

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