South Korea has resumed plans to buy 48 new heavy missile launchers to replace its Nike-Hercules air defense missiles. (The $1.62 billion project was suspended during the Asian financial crisis.) South Korea is considering three candidates: the US Patriot-3, the Russian S-300V (SA-12), and the EuroSAM LAND system.--Stephen V Cole
October 13; The Chinese foreign minister made a five day visit to North Korea and openly urged the North Koreans to improve their relationships with their neighbors, particularly South Korea. China has become a major trading partner with South Korea, much to the consternation of long time Chinese ally North Korea.
October 12; The US Department of Defense reported that North Korea still has the capacity to produce several nuclear weapons a year, and on short notice if it renounced its 1994 agreement not to. The 1994 deal gave North Korea large quantities of petroleum products, and several South Korean built nuclear reactors (that cannot produce plutonium for bombs), if North Korea stopped it's nuclear weapons program. North Korea has not dismantled it's nuclear weapons program, it has merely promised to suspend work on it. Meanwhile, North Korea has apparently stepped up it's production of chemical and biological weapons; increasing it's stockpiles to 2,500-5,000 tons. North Korea has also organized another missile division (with dozens of launchers) and added ten submarines to its navy.