WASHINGTON (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States are continuing discussions about Seoul's push to ease restrictions on its ballistic missile development but there has been no progress, a diplomatic source said Wednesday.
"The two sides are in consultations. It's an ongoing process. But there is no specific progress yet," the source told Yonhap News Agency on the condition of anonymity.
"You can say that South Korea and the U.S. have different angles on this issue," added the source. "The U.S. side seems to question the need for South Korea to extend its ballistic missile range. Chances are low that there will be an agreement in the near future."
South Korea is banned from developing ballistic missiles with a range of more than 300 kilometers under a 2001 deal with the U.S.
Seoul has been seeking to extend the range of its missiles in order to cover all of North Korea, which is armed with missiles of various ranges.
President Lee Myung-bak openly stressed that South Korea needs to advance its ballistic missile capability.
South Korean diplomats are apparently under pressure to produce some results before the end of Lee's tenure early next year.
Washington apparently remains unenthusiastic, however.
Responding to Yonhap's queries, the State Department reiterated its basic stance on the alliance. It placed more emphasis on bilateral cooperation in countering the North's threats.
“The ROK is one of our closest allies and the U.S.-ROK alliance is a linchpin of stability in Northeast Asia. Our militaries are closely integrated and we have exceptionally strong security cooperation," it said in a formal statement. The ROK stands for South Korea's formal name, the Republic of Korea.
The department sidestepped direct comments on the missile range issue.
“We routinely seek to identify ways to improve our planning efforts, which include the full range of alliance capabilities - including conventional forces, missile defense, nuclear capabilities, and strategy doctrine," it said. "The United States is committed to a robust dialogue and continued cooperation with the ROK on these important and constantly evolving security issues."